Making Sense of Gary Payton II's Status and Recovery Timeline
The Blazers' top free-agent signing is getting closer but has yet to make his season debut.
TUALATIN, Ore. — It is still not known when Gary Payton II will make his Trail Blazers debut, but it's closer than ever.
A little over two weeks ago, the team released its last official update on Payton's progress in his recovery from a core muscle surgery he underwent in July. They said that day, on Nov. 18, that Payton was experiencing "intermittent soreness" in his workouts and would be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Since then, Payton's return has been soft-launched, in a way. He was mic'd up in the NBA TV broadcast of last Wednesday's loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles, and then again by the Blazers' TV broadcast for Sunday's win at home over the Pacers.
Here's the latest update, courtesy of Damian Lillard after Wednesday's practice:
"He practiced today. He did everything with us today."
The entire saga of Payton, who signed a three-year, $26 million deal with the Blazers in July and has yet to appear in a game, is a strange subplot of what's been a mostly feel-good season. It's also a reminder that NBA injuries and recoveries are not linear and are often unpredictable even in the best of circumstances. All we can do is piece together the updates and find out what we can behind the scenes.