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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Steve Kerr shares Gary Payton II’s tough reaction to injury

Gary Payton holds a ball

Apr 10, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II (0) during warmups before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors do not expect Gary Payton II to return to the court at any point in the near future. And after finally finding his place on an NBA team, head coach Steve Kerr admits that’s been crushing for Payton.

“Gary is out for the foreseeable future, for weeks. That’s the only thing that matters to us,” Kerr told reporters, via Yahoo! Sports. “He’s got a huge brace on his arm, and he’s gonna be out for a long time. He’s crushed.

“In the spotlight, playing in the playoffs, playing a huge role, playing well — that’s all been taken away from him. We all feel terrible for Gary, he deserves better.”

Any injury sustained during the playoffs while on a potential championship team is crushing. But for Payton, it’s even worse because he was finally coming into his own and seizing an opportunity that he’s worked extremely hard for. There’s also the added sourness over the injury occurring on what some have labeled a “dirty play.”

And Payton isn’t the only one impacted by this injury. The Warriors lose their best defender against Ja Morant, leaving them in a somewhat vulnerable position.

If Payton’s recovery goes well and the Warriors grind their way to the NBA Finals, there’s an outside chance he’ll be able to return. However, it’s more likely that Payton won’t step foot back on the court until next season.

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