Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Payton II hopes to make his season debut next week, league sources tell Bleacher Report. The defensive stalwart has been recovering from offseason surgery to a core muscle.
The organization thought he would have returned to action a month earlier, sources say, but Payton opted to take his time to heal not only physically but mentally. He will receive his championship ring Dec. 30 when the Trail Blazers visit the Golden State Warriors.
On December 12, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the 30-year-old expected to play in one-to-two weeks, which lines up with next week’s prediction.
After a six-game road trip, the Blazers return home after tomorrow night’s game against the Denver Nuggets in Colorado. Next week, the Blazers host the Charlotte Hornets on Boxing Day before taking a quick trip to San Francisco to face the Golden State Warriors on December 30.
It’s will be before the latter game where Payton II will receive the ring he won as a member of the Warriors 2021-22 championship team.