Warriors' Gary Payton II set to miss several weeks with hamstring strain

ByKendra Andrews ESPN logo
Thursday, January 4, 2024

Golden State Warriors forward Gary Payton II will miss at least several weeks because of a left hamstring strain, sources confirmed to ESPN.

There's no official timeline for Payton's return, but a source told ESPN it doesn't appear his return will be quick.

Payton sustained the injury Tuesday night during the Warriors' 121-115 win over the Orlando Magic. That was Payton's second game back after missing the previous 13 because of a right calf strain.

As Payton tried to fight over a screen set by Orlando's Paolo Banchero, he took an awkward tumble, scrambling to get up on his feet and then continuously grabbing at his left thigh once he was up.

The Warriors called a timeout, and Payton immediately headed toward the locker room, nearly throwing his headband in frustration and pulling and biting his jersey.

"He's such a big part of our team," Chris Paul said. "People may not realize it, but his energy is consistent every day -- every practice, every game. Him coming back has been huge for us. So I hope whatever it is isn't going to take a long time. I think for him, it's going to be about getting as healthy as possible."

The Athletic first reported the news of Payton's expected absence.

While Payton wasn't going to be an automatic fix, the Warriors were looking for him to help improve their defense, especially as they awaitDraymond Green'sreturn from his indefinite suspension.

Payton was a plus-10, a team high at the time, in his 10 minutes.

"He relieves so much pressure for us, as far as guarding," Klay Thompson said. "I'm sure we're going to miss him, but we just want to be healthy."