The Golden State Warriors started guard Gary Payton II in Tuesday's playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies with the hopes his perimeter defense could help contain Ja Morant, but they lost him to a left elbow injury a mere three minutes after the start.
Payton was ruled out after suffering the injury on a hard Dillon Brooks foul in transition. Brooks was issued a flagrant-two foul and ejected.
After the game, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported Payton had suffered a fractured elbow, although he'd undergo an MRI to confirm the injury on Wednesday.
Payton immediately grabbed his elbow after falling to the ground and remained down in obvious pain for some time while the play was reviewed. He eventually hit one of two free throws and then went to the locker room.
Golden State also started him in Game 1, and he finished with eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block in a well-balanced showing while helping his team to a 117-116 victory.
The veteran, who has also played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards, averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 17.6 minutes per game this season.
It was the best statistical campaign of his career, and he has been a key role player for the team's championship hopes.
The one silver lining for the Warriors is the fact they already stole home-court advantage with their Game 1 win and have three off days with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday. That will give Payton some time to heal before the series shifts to San Francisco.
If he remains sidelined, Jordan Poole will take on an even larger role than he has this postseason. Damion Lee will likely see more playing time as well.