The Warriors are trying to squeeze back into the NBA playoff picture, and they could be receiving an encouraging reinforcement very soon to help in those efforts.
Gary Payton II returned to practice Tuesday, the team announced, after a re-evaluation indicated he was making good progress from rehabbing a leg injury.
The 31-year-old suffered a grade 2 left hamstring strain in the Warriors' 121-115 win over the Orland Magic on Jan. 2. He's missed the last 14 games, and the team says his return to game action will be based on his continued progress.
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Payton II's status will be listed as day-to-day.
Payton II's impending return could come at a promising time for the Warriors as they try to flip the switch on a wobbly 2023-24 season and crawl out of the bottom of the Western Conference.
Golden State has gone 6-8 during Payton II's current absence.
In 16 games this season, Payton II is averaging 5.4 points on 45.6-percent shooting, with 3.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes off the bench. His impact goes beyond a stat sheet, though, as his resilience on the defensive end of the floor has been missed over the last five weeks.
Golden State Warriors
And soon, the Warriors could get defensive prowess and competitive spirit back on the floor with them.