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Warriors’ Gary Payton II (elbow) likely to play in Finals

Apr 3, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II (0) during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II is likely to return from injury in the NBA Finals, maybe even as soon as Game 1, The Athletic reported Friday.

Payton sustained a fractured left elbow on May 3 in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal series at Memphis on a rough foul that led to a suspension for Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks.

Payton has been increasing his workouts recently to prepare for his return.

The Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday night to seal a 4-1 series win to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since their run of five straight finals appearances ended in 2019.

Payton, a journeyman guard, was a key component of the Warriors’ rotation this season. The 29-year-old averaged career highs of 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 71 regular-season games (16 starts).

–Field Level Media