Golden States Warriors guard Gary Payton II reportedly suffered a fractured elbow following Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies. In addition to a fractured left elbow, an MRI revealed ligament damage as well.
Payton is expected to be out for three weeks due to the injury, but he still has a chance to play in the NBA playoffs if Golden State manages to keep going forward.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 5, 2022
With 9:08 left to play in the first quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday, Dillon Brooks of the Grizzlies chased Payton from behind and hit the Warriors guard in the head while he was in the air. Payton hit the ground quite hard and everyone on the court was taken aback by this incident. Brooks was later given a flagrant foul and ejected from the game after officials reviewed the play.
Memphis' Dillon Brooks gets tossed for this foul on Golden State's Gary Payton II.
Two games, two ejections between the Warriors and Grizzlies.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) May 4, 2022
Based on this diagnosis, Payton would have a week’s margin of error to play in the NBA Finals, which will begin on June 2, assuming that Golden State is qualified. In the absence of Payton, the Warriors may opt to start Jordan Poole, who was the only player on the Warriors’ bench to play more than 10 minutes on Tuesday.
After six years of bouncing around the NBA, Payton had a breakout season with Golden State. Starting the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals this season.
Warriors vs. Grizzlies Match highlights
It is currently 1-1 in the series between the Warriors and the Grizzlies as the series moves to California. Klay Thompson’s late three-pointer gave Golden State the win in Game 1, while Ja Morant’s 47 points helped Memphis win Game 2.
🏀 Game 3: Sat. 8:30pm/et on ABC pic.twitter.com/KZWVFZSe0Q
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2022
After being punched in the face while going for a rebound in the third quarter, Ja Morant could not see out of his left eye. The All-Star guard was out to make amends for a game-winning layup he missed in the final seconds of Game 1.
Morant scored 47 points to tie his postseason high and lead the Grizzlies into a 106-101 victory in Game 2.
However, the Warriors’ loss was only the beginning of the damage they inflicted on themselves.
It’s expected that playoff basketball will be tough, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Brooks’ conduct “dirty.”
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr said. “There is a code. This code that players follow where you never put a guy’s season or career in jeopardy by taking somebody out in midair and clubbing him across the head, ultimately fracturing Gary’s elbow … He broke the code. Dillon Brooks broke the code.”
Steve Kerr’s full comments on Gary Payton II fracturing his left elbow and being frustrated at Dillon Brooks “breaking the code” of hitting a player mid-air to put him at risk. pic.twitter.com/gj2lucdGlh
— Evan Barnes〽️ (@evan_b) May 4, 2022
Draymond Green, who was ejected from Game 1, shared his thoughts on this incident.
“You gonna boo someone who was elbowed in the eye and face is running with blood, you should get flipped off,” said Green,
“I’ll take the fine. I’ll do an appearance and make up the money. It felt really good to flip them off. If they are going to be that nasty, I will be nasty too. I’m assuming the cheers were because they know I’ll be fined. Great – I make $25m a year. I should be just fine.”