Gary Payton II

Warriors receive encouraging news on GP2, Moody injuries

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SAN FRANCISCO – In a month filled with disappointment and heartbreak, the Warriors finally received some good news Monday when two of their top reserves, Gary Payton II and Moses Moody, were cleared for light individual on-court workouts.

Golden State definitely needs both men back.

Payton, one of the Warriors' top defenders, has been out three weeks with a grade 2 strain of his left calf after battling for a rebound against the Orlando Magic on Jan. 2. That came in just his second game back on the court after missing 13 games with a left calf injury.

Payton recently was re-evaluated, and the reports were promising. The 31-year-old was at practice on Monday, working out and taking shots with an assistant coach. The Warriors said he will be re-evaluated again in two weeks.

That’s encouraging for a Golden State team that has struggled on defense most of the 2023-24 NBA season. In the seven games Payton has missed with his most recent injury, the Warriors have allowed an average of 127 points a game and won just twice in seven games.

Moody could be back before Payton. One of Golden State’s top scorers off the bench, Moody also is making good progress from a grade 1 left calf strain he sustained Jan. 10 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Like Payton, Moody received the green light to resume light individual workouts during practice and will be re-evaluated in one week.

The Warriors lost two of their three games while Moody has been sidelined and certainly need his offense. The third-year guard, who had 21 points in back-to-back games before getting hurt, is averaging career highs in scoring (8.7), shooting percentage (48.2) and minutes played (18).

Injuries and Draymond Green’s NBA suspension have left the Warriors short-handed for much of the season. Chris Paul’s fractured left hand severely depleted Golden State’s backcourt and left a significant hole on the second unit.

Rookie Brandin Podziemski has tried to pick up the slack from the injuries. He matched his career high of 23 points as a starter against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 13, but has been much more effective coming off the bench.

Overall, Golden State’s backups have provided the team with a big boost most of this season. The Warriors are among the league’s top teams in bench scoring (43.8 points per game) and minutes played.

Once Payton and Moody are cleared to resume playing, those numbers should only get better. Hopefully, the overall team will improve as well.

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