The Phoenix Suns are optimistic that reserve point guard Cameron Payne will be available for Saturday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center.
“We’re hopeful we’ll get a good report going forward, and he can be ready to play tomorrow,” Suns coach Monty Williams said after a light shootaround session on Friday.
“But we just don’t know right now.”
Coach Williams said that Payne participated in Friday’s session and went through his workout with no issues.
However, since it was a light workout the Suns are unsure just how healthy Payne really is.
“He was a little bit better today. We didn’t do a ton, so it’s hard to evaluate,” Willams said.
“But we think he’s getting better. We hope he can get back on the floor tomorrow.”
Williams also noted that Payne had no noticeable limp when the team walked to their hotel from practice.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers will remain without Kawhi Leonard for the fifth straight game, and Marcus Morris is listed as a game-time decision for Saturday.
Despite Leonard’s absence, the Clippers managed to get back in the series with their win Thursday night.
Payne’s injury came on the day of Chris Paul’s return from COVID protocol.
Paul was out 10 days in isolation before returning in Game 3.
With Payne’s injury in the first quarter, Paul had to play extended minutes in his return.
He looked rusty, scoring 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting with a game-high 12 assists.
“I said it last night, I felt like I played him too much,” Williams stated.
“But that may end up helping him, to have your body go through that soreness. It probably felt like an old-school training camp … I think it’s going to help him. And not having Cam out there probably sped up the process. Having been around Chris, once he has a game like that under his belt, he tends to bounce back from a conditioning standpoint better than most.”
Paul dismissed any notion of fatigue when talking to reporters.
“Things could be a lot worse,” Paul said after the game.
“I’m here now. I’ve got an unbelievable team in Phoenix, and I’ve got the best support system you could absolutely have. So ain’t nobody over here feeling sorry. Whatever happened is in the past, and you move on.”
As Phoenix leads 2-1, they will hope their burst off the bench in Cameron Payne will be ready to go for the pivotal Game 4.