Warriors’ Gary Payton II to receive MRI on right calf injury

Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II will receive an MRI on his right calf injury today, per sources. The MRI will help the medical staff determine the grade of calf muscle injury, along with fluid collections and fascial defect. These factors can help trainers establish a timetable for his return.

Payton is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. If his injury is a calf strain, a Grade I strain requires 10-12 days of rest. Grade II is 2-3 weeks, and Grade III needs at least six months after surgery. With Grade III injuries, the affected individual cannot contract the calf muscle.

Per a couple of NBA betting sites, the Golden State Warriors hold fifth-shortest odds to win this season’s 2024 championship. Check out which sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns.

In Golden State’s 124-123 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, Chris Paul left during the first quarter with lower left leg soreness and Payton exited in the third after playing 17 minutes off the bench. The eight-year veteran finished with seven points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals, and a block.

Moses Moody stepped up amid Payton’s absence. The 6-foot-6 guard drained back-to-back 3-pointers to help Golden State remain in the game, but Sacramento went on to outscore the Dubs 29-19 in the final frame. Now the Warriors are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.

Golden State Warriors’ Gary Payton II to undergo MRI on right calf injury Wednesday, listed as questionable

Through 14 games off the bench this season, Payton is averaging 5.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 17.3 minutes per game. Plus, he’s shooting 47.9% from the field, 32.1% beyond the arc, and 66.7% at the foul line.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr opened up about Payton’s importance to his team last week.

“Very similar to what we’ve watched with Gary two years ago, because last year he was barely with us,” Kerr said, following last Friday’s 118-112 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

“One of the benefits of playing him is he knows how to play with Steph [Curry]. It’s not just his defense, which is excellent, but when he’s on the floor with Steph, that’s where some of the off-ball stuff just happens because Gary recognizes it as well as anybody.

“You’ll see him dribble at Steph and get him a hand-back, you’ll see him running free and he’ll go screen for him, he’ll set a screen and dive, and Steph will hit him in the pocket like he did for the one when he got the layup. There’s definitely a lot of value in playing Gary with Steph, and we’re trying to do that more.”

In Golden State’s 106-95 victory against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 29, Payton recorded a season-high 15 points, four boards, one assist, three steals, and one block in 19 minutes as a reserve.

According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Warriors hold a 62.3% chance of winning at home over the Clippers. Los Angeles is 4-2 in its last six games. The Clips are coming off a 113-104 loss to a Nuggets team that played without Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon.

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