The Portland Trail Blazers made a nice splash this offseason, signing a number of different players, including defensive cog Gary Payton II, who just won an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately, he’s also been dealing with a lingering core injury after a procedure in the summer and is still not really to play. In fact, GP2 will miss the start of the regular season. Via the team’s website:

“Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II continues to recover from an off-season procedure to address a core muscle injury. Although his rehab continues to progress well, he will miss the start of the regular season. Payton’s return to play timeline will be re-evaluated in two weeks.”

He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks, which means Payton could potentially miss even more time beyond that. Not a good sign for the Blazers, who need all the help they can get defensively.

GP2 averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per night in 71 games in 2021-22, playing a key part off the bench for the Dubs. He was the subject of a brutal foul from Dillon Brooks in the conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies, ultimately badly hurting his elbow. But, Gary Payton II returned for the Finals and made an impact.

The best part is Payton was playing on a partially guaranteed deal and turned it into a fully guaranteed contract with his impressive play. That led to a hefty payday of three years, and $29 million from the Blazers.

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There is no question GP2 is going to be valuable to Portland. Let’s just hope he’s not out too long.