Payne suited up for Windy City in their 103-100 win over the Iowa Energy on Thursday, finishing with 14 points (5-16 FG, 1-7 3Pt, 3-4 FT), eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes. The poor shooting line hasn't been out of the norm for Payne at the NBA level this season, as he owns a miserable 33.3 percent mark from the field while averaging 15.8 minutes over his 29 appearances with the Thunder and Bulls. It appears he's no better than third in the pecking order at point guard for coach Fred Hoiberg as the depth chart currently stands, which should leave Payne out of the rotation in most games while he remains with the big club.
Despite being recalled on Wednesday from the D-League after rehabbing a sore foot, Payne collected a DNP-CD for that day's tilt against the Pistons, and has now been sent back down to the Windy City Bulls. It's unclear whether he will continue to bounce back and forth between the NBA and the D-League, but the situation could be worth monitoring, as Payne's 15.6 minutes per game since joining the Bulls is fairly significant to their rotation.
Payne (foot) has been ruled out for Friday's game against the Wizards and Saturday's game against the Jazz, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com reports.
According to the Bulls' game notes, Payne didn't even make the trip to Washington, and the second-year point guard is apparently still experiencing enough soreness in his right foot for the Bulls to rule him out for the weekend. Payne's absence will likely prompt coach Fred Hoiberg to go with Rajon Rondo and Michael Carter-Williams as his primary point guards the next two games, with Rondo likely dominating the playing time as the starter. Considering Payne fractured that same foot twice during the offseason, it wouldn't be surprising if the Bulls acted extremely cautiously with him and kept him out beyond the weekend.
Payne will be sidelined for Wednesday's tilt against the Grizzlies due to a sore right foot, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports.
The soreness is in the same foot that he's fractured a bone in twice, which required surgery. With Payne out, his playing time could go to almost any of the four remaining Bulls point guards, though Rajon Rondo will get the start Wednesday. Since joining the Bulls, Payne has averaged 6.0 points on 33.9 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 rebounds across 15.6 minutes per game, making him only valuable in the deepest of fantasy formats.
Payne scored 14 points (5-14 FG, 4-9 3Pt) while adding three rebounds and three assists across 23 minutes in Monday's 109-95 loss to the Pistons.
Payne has not seen the floor often due to illness and having to catch up on his new team's playbook, but the 23 minutes Monday night marked his highest output in that category since coming to the Bulls. With Rajon Rondo and Jerian Grant also in the mix at point guard, Payne will try to carve himself out a substantial role in the next few games and if he plays like he did Monday, that should not be hard to accomplish as Rondo (ankle) and Grant have both been below average to this point in the year.
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