The Portland Trail Blazers are struggling on defense, but their potential savior isn’t ready to return from injury quite yet.
Injury report: Josh Hart (ankle), Justise Winslow (groin) and Drew Eubanks (hip) are probable and Gary Payton II (return to competition conditioning) and Nassir Little (hip) are out for Saturday’s game vs. Timberwolves.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) December 10, 2022
Payton has been working on a return to basketball after undergoing abdominal surgery over the offseason.
The team has been tight-lipped about a timetable for Payton’s return after he was the franchise’s big free agency signing in July.
The 30-year-old was signed by the Blazers after he played a major role in the Golden State Warriors title run in June. Once on the court, his skillset will hopefully boost what has become a lacklustre defensive profile in Portland in recent weeks.
Payton and Nassir Little remain the team’s two outs for the first of two games against the Wolves at the Moda Center on Saturday and Monday.
Josh Hart (ankle), Justise Winslow (groin) and Drew Eubanks (hip) look set to play despite their respective injuries.