After sustaining a left hamstring strain on January 2nd during a game versus the Orlando Magic, Gary Payton II has been cleared for light individual workouts, per a team announcement made on January 22nd. Payton will be re-evaluated in two weeks, and will hopefully bring shooting and veteran presence to the court once fully recovered.
This hamstring strain is Payton’s second injury this season, the first being a calf injury that kept him out for most of December. In 16 games played this season, Payton has averaged 5.4 points and 3 rebounds. Deep on the bench, Payton is more of a veteran presence than an active member of the core, but he can step up at times. For example, on October 29th, Payton scored 15 rebounds and grabbed three steals in a Warriors win against the Houston Rockets.
When he’s on fire, he’s on fire, and if there’s one thing Payton can do, it’s defense. In his own words, “it’s just energy and effort.”
Hopefully, after fully recovering, Payton will be able to continue contributing meaningful scoring and defense to the Warriors’ bench, especially with veteran guard Chris Paul still out with a left hand injury.