Blazers' Gary Payton II Underwent Offseason Surgery for Core Muscle Injury

Adam WellsSeptember 16, 2022

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II had offseason surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

Per an official statement from the team, Payton had the procedure in July and is expected to make a full recovery before the regular season begins.

The Blazers made several moves during the offseason as they look to get back to the playoffs this season.

Payton was Portland's biggest free-agent signing. He signed a three-year, $28 million deal in July. The 29-year-old had a breakout 2021-22 season with the Golden State Warriors that culminated with the team winning an NBA championship.

In addition to signing Payton, the Blazers acquired Jerami Grant in a trade with the Detroit Pistons. They also re-signed Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkić.

Lillard's two-year max extension put an end to any speculation the six-time All-Star could pursue a trade, at least for now.

Bringing in high-end role players like Payton and Grant was a message that the Blazers believe they can be contenders in 2022-23. Lillard's health will be the biggest key for the team this season. He appeared in only 29 games during the 2021-22 campaign due to an abdominal injury.

Payton spent the first five seasons of his career bouncing around the NBA, trying to carve out a role. He spent time with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards before landing with the Warriors on a 10-day contract late in the 2020-21 season.

The Warriors waived Payton before the start of last season but re-signed him when he cleared waivers. The Oregon State alum appeared in a career-high 71 games and averaged 7.1 points with a 61.6 field-goal percentage.

Payton's hallmark is his ability on the defensive end of the court. He ranked sixth in defensive rating (102.3) among players with at least 10 appearances in 2021-22. He was even better during Golden State's playoff run, ranking fifth overall with a 100.0 mark in 12 games.

The Blazers will be counting on Payton to improve a defense that ranked 27th in points allowed per game (115.1) and last in defensive rating (116.9) last season.


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