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Steve Kerr: 'Optimism' that Gary Payton II will return in regular season

By Alex Espinoza,


SAN FRANCISCO – GP2 is making progress but he’s still out for the foreseeable future.

The Warriors offered their expected update on Gary Payton II’s core muscle injury Monday afternoon before their matchup against the Phoenix Suns, saying he will be re-evaluated in 10 days. Golden State will play six times between now and March 23, including Monday’s contest and an upcoming five-game road trip.

According to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, the team remains optimistic that Payton will be able to return before the regular season ends on April 9.

“Yeah there’s definitely optimism,” Kerr said. “He’s doing well. He’s been on the court. He’s gonna ramp up his activity here in the next week. I don’t know when the next update, but there’s definitely hope and optimism that he’ll be able to play at some point.”

Payton still hasn’t played since being acquired at the trade deadline from the Portland Trail Blazers, as he failed his physical but Golden State still went through with the four-team deal that sent James Wiseman to the Detroit Pistons. Here’s the statement from the Warriors:

“The re-evaluation indicated that Payton II is making good progress. In addition to daily physical rehab work with the team’s training staff—which is designed to strengthen his adductor/core—he has started various on-court activities (shooting, etc.) and will begin to intensify the on-court workouts in the coming days. He will be re-evaluated again in 10 days.”

Donte DiVincenzo has become a reliable two-way guard for the Warriors, but they’d love to add Payton’s on-ball presence and high IQ on the offensive end, as he thrived in Kerr’s system last year. Two-way guard Ty Jerome has suited up for 47 games, so the Warriors will be thin at guard. Jerome is already ineligible for Monday's game since Lester Quinones' 10-day contract has expired.

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