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Warriors guard Gary Payton II out for Game 1, not series

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

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