Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks is set to make his return from a one-game suspension in Monday's Game 4 against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.
Prior to the game, Brooks expressed contrition for the flagrant-2 foul that resulted in Gary Payton II suffering a fractured elbow, telling reporters he would take the play back if he could.
The play occurred early in Game 2 when Payton went up for a layup and Brooks tried to block his shot from behind. Brooks' arm connected with Payton's head in midair, and he immediately grabbed his elbow after bracing himself for the fall.
After the game, the Warriors were vocal about their displeasure with Brooks for committing such a hard foul. Star point guard Stephen Curry said the play was "out of line."
"There is a code," Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said. "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."
Brooks was asked about Kerr's comments Monday and responded: "I don’t even know what that means in the playoffs. I did not even understand what he meant by that." Brooks maintained that he was attempting to make a play on the ball.
The series between Memphis and Golden State has been notably physical. Warriors forward Draymond Green also was banged up in Game 2 and had to get stitches for a laceration above his right eye. Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant picked up a knee injury in Saturday's Game 3, and head coach Taylor Jenkins said he's likely out Monday.
The Grizzlies are hoping to avoid falling into a 3-1 hole.