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Gary Payton II is expected to make his 2022-23 season debut for the Portland Trail Blazers at the earliest on Nov. 15 against the San Antonio Spurs, sources told NBA on TNT’s Chris Haynes. Payton is currently on his road towards recovery from a core muscle injury.

In a press release, the Blazers confirmed that the guard is making significant progress and cleared to increase conditioning and on court activity in hopes to finally be ready for competitive basketball.

This news can’t even be more delightful for the Blazers, as his impending activation will cut out the increased workloads of Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Josh Hart. His defensive reputation alone can do wonders for the team that has been riding on a sizzling 5-1 start this season.

The undrafted former journeyman and son of the all-time great point man Gary Payton, he emerged as a crucial element on the Golden State Warriors’ title run last season. His contributions allowed him to secure a contract year, thus signing a three-year, $26.1MM deal with Portland in offseason.

Payton II averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 boards, 1.4 steals in 61.6 percent shooting for the Warriors.