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Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II is looking to avoid injury after fracturing his elbow in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies. During a team practice Tuesday, Payton was hit in the head by a stray basketball.
Payton was practicing a drill with head coach Steve Kerr ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics when he was drilled in the head by a ball.
It was unclear who threw the basketball, but Kerr’s reaction said it all: “Ouch.”
Payton returned to the playoffs in the Warriors’ Game 2 win over the Celtics. Steph Curry praised him during a press conference Tuesday, calling Payton an “amazing difference-maker.”
“I think fans really resonate with that. They really love the way he approaches the game, his energy,” Curry said. “He changes games without having really crazy scoring outputs … You just get so much energy watching him defend and disrupt and do all that type of stuff.
“Fans love that, and we love it too as a teammate. So it’s been awesome to watch his growth and development this year.”
The Celtics host the Warriors Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET with the series tied at one game apiece.