Blazers’ Payton To Miss Start Of Regular Season

Gary Payton II, who signed a three-year contract with the Trail Blazers in July, won’t be available for the start of the regular season next week, the team announced today in a press release.

Payton, who underwent core muscle surgery this summer, will be reevaluated in two weeks, according to the Blazers. That means, even if he’s ready to return at that point, he’ll miss Portland’s first five games of the season.

When the Blazers first announced Payton’s procedure in September, they indicated that they expected him to be ready for opening night. That won’t happen, but the team said in today’s statement that Payton “continues to progress well” in his rehab, so it doesn’t sound like he has experienced any setbacks.

It’s possible Payton’s absence will open the door for rookie Shaedon Sharpe to play regular minutes to start the season. Wings Nassir Little and Justise Winslow should also see an uptick in playing time.

In addition to their injury update on Payton, the Blazers also put out a press release announcing that center Olivier Sarr, who was converted to a two-way deal earlier today, has been diagnosed with a right wrist sprain after undergoing an MRI. He’ll be reevaluated in one week, at which point the team should have a clearer idea of when he’ll be able to return.

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