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Gary Payton II to miss start of season, still recovering from abdominal surgery

Portland Trail Blazers Media Day

PORTLAND, OREGON - SEPTEMBER 26: Gary Payton II #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers poses for a portrait during Blazers Media Day at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on September 26, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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Gary Payton II had the same surgery to repair a core muscle injury as his new teammate, Damian Lillard.

However, unlike Lillard, Payton will not be back and healthy for the start of the season, as initially hoped, the Trail Blazers announced. Instead, he will be re-evaluated in two weeks. For comparison, Nassir Little had a similar surgery in May but was not cleared to play until just a few weeks ago.

Payton played an important bench role for the Warriors on the way to their title last season, then parlayed that into a three-year, $26.1 million contract in Portland.

He’s part of a retooled Trail Blazers roster centered around Lillard, Jerami Grant, Anfrenee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic and Josh Hart, among others. Portland built a solid roster, but will that be enough in a very deep West?