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Billups Cites Mental Hurdles in Gary Payton II Injury Recovery

It’s above the shoulders for GPII has he works on his return.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Blazers has shed some light on Gary Payton II’s delayed return to the court. Prior to the Blazers game against Golden State Warriors, Billups told media, including Warriors reporter Kerith Burke, that Payton II had been medically cleared to play but is still working on the mental side.

“He’s working his behind off to get back, he’s close, very close. Medically we’ve and he’s done everything that he can do. I always tell people a lot of times like nobody really understands like when you have an injury, you have surgery, there’s not just the physical component that you have to get over, there’s a mental component as well. You don’t want to get hurt again, you don’t want to re-injure yourself, and I think that that’s kind of where it is with G is like, he’s just trying to get over that.”

Payton underwent abdominal surgery in the offseason and initially hoped to be ready for the start of the regular season. Last week, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the defensive-minded guard was hoping to make his Blazers debut soon. On December 12, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the 30-year-old expected to play in one-to-two weeks.

The Blazers signed Payton II to a three-year, $26 million contract in the offseason after he helped the Golden State Warriors win a title. The 30-year-old will receive his championship ring tonight.