Gary Payton II could still return during the Western Conference finals, but the defensive whiz will not play in Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday due to his elbow injury.
Head coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors are encouraged by Payton’s activity, which was largely limited to right-hand dominant work at practice on Tuesday.
Payton could play in the best-of-seven series, but the Warriors plan to take his availability game-to-game. However, he’s not expected to return this week.
Payton has a fractured left elbow and ligament damage and was originally projected to return for the NBA Finals.
He was hurt in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals series at Memphis on a rough foul that led to a suspension for Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks.
The journeyman found a home with the Warriors as a role player who earned Kerr’s endorsement for his play in tight games.
Payton, 29, averaged career highs of 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 71 regular-season games (16 starts).
–Field Level Media