The Golden State Warriors are getting a key contributor back for the start of NBA Finals. Defensive stalwart Gary Payton II has been progressing well following the fractured elbow he suffered against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals in May, and is on track to be available for Game 1 on Thursday night, according to Shams Charania.
Payton suffered the injury when he was knocked out of the air by Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks during an attempt at the rim. Payton fell and landed awkwardly on his elbow. Brooks was immediately ejected and suspended a subsequent game for the foul. The Warriors were able to advance past the Grizzlies, and then the Dallas Mavericks, without him, but Payton's return will obviously be a big boost for the Warriors, especially on the defensive end of the floor, as he has established himself as one of the league's better perimeter defenders.