On Monday, Gary Payton II is anticipated to make his Trail Blazers debut. He is not listed on the injury report for the team’s matchup with Detroit at home.
INJURY REPORT 1/2 @trailblazers vs. DET:
Little (R Femoral Head Impaction Fracture)
Winslow (L Ankle Sprain)
Brown III (Non-Covid Illness)
Johnson (Non-Covid Illness)
Nurkic (Non-Covid Illness)
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 2, 2023
As an unrestricted free agency, Payton agreed to a three-year, $26MM deal with the Trail Blazers in July. The next off-season, he underwent core muscle surgery. The Blazers hope Payton will play a similar role behind Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons as he did on the Warriors’ championship squad.
The 30-year-old Payton had trouble finding a team that would give him a consistent role before becoming a defensive force for Golden State. In 71 regular season games, including 16 starts, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals. Additionally, he made 12 postseason appearances, including two starts. Payton also played for Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Washington, but over the course of the previous five seasons, he never made it past 29 games.
Due to illness and injury, Portland’s last game saw an eight-man rotation, so they could use the boost. Jusuf Nurkic, the team’s starting center, and the backups Keon Johnson and Greg Brown III are all listed as questionable due to sickness, while Justise Winslow will be out Monday due to a left ankle sprain.