NBA Rumors: ‘Optimism' Warriors' Gary Payton II Can Return NBA Finals Game 1

Report: ‘Optimism’ GP2 can return for Game 1 of NBA Finals originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors are expected to get back one of their key rotation pieces during the NBA Finals.

Gary Payton II, who suffered a fractured elbow during Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on a scary fall after getting fouled by Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks, is expected to return in the NBA Finals, Stadium’s Shams Charania reported, citing sources.

Warriors guard Gary Payton II (elbow fracture) is expected to return in the NBA Finals, sources say. Here’s how soon:

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 27, 2022

Charania adds that there’s “optimism” that Payton can return in time for Game 1 on Thursday, June 2.

Payton’s injury occurred on May 3, so this would mark about a four-week recovery.

The play Payton got injured on was highly controversial, as the Warriors guard was going up for a dunk and Brooks took a swipe at him midair and connected with Payton’s head, causing him to fall awkwardly to the ground where he landed on his elbow.

GP2 takes a hard fall after getting fouled by Dillon Brooks.

Brooks was given a Flagrant 2 foul and has been ejected from Game

— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 4, 2022

But Payton said there are no hard feelings between him and Brooks after the play.

“For the record: There’s no bad blood between me and Dillon,” Payton wrote in an article published by The Players Tribune last week. “After we closed out Game 6, I got word that he wanted to talk outside the locker room, and when I got there he apologized. I give Dillon a lot of credit for that — no text, no social media, nothing indirect. He came in person, and we talked like grown men. He told me he didn’t mean to hurt me.

RELATED: GP2’s inspiring story of staying dedicated to Dubs after being cut

Payton is the Warriors’ best perimeter defender, so getting him back would be massive as the Warriors try to defend the Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown or the Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler, depending on who the Dubs face in the Finals. 

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