Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury

275 rumors in this storyline

Center DeMarcus Cousins is unlikely to return this postseason for the Golden State Warriors yet won’t require surgery on his torn left quadriceps muscle. Coach Steve Kerr has named Andrew Bogut as his starter in place of Cousins for Game 3 Thursday night of the team’s first-round playoff series against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Playing in just his second career postseason game after a nine-year wait, the 28-year-old Cousins went down in the first quarter of a 135-131 Game 2 loss Monday night. He fell in front of the Golden State bench after swiping a ball from Patrick Beverley in the back court. Cousins immediately grabbed at his left quad then hobbled to the locker room at the 8:09 mark.

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6 days ago via ESPN

DeMarcus Cousins done for the playoffs

Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins has a torn left quad, a source told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears on Tuesday. Doctors are still determining the severity of Cousins’ quad tear, which will determine the length of the recovery process, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It is unclear whether he will need surgery or how long he could be out. An MRI confirmed the team’s fear of a tear on Tuesday morning.

He refused assistance to the locker room by teammates and walked off on his own power to be examined with cameras catching what appeared to be a noticeable injury to his quad. The Warriors’ big man is only a few months removed from returning from a left Achilles tear that sidelined him for a year, and for the first time in his nine NBA seasons, he was experiencing his first taste of a long playoff run. “It’s tough, for sure,” Stephen Curry said. “You feel for him, considering what he’s been through this last year. This is a big stage, the playoffs. He’s been looking forward to this. I don’t know the extent of the injury at this point. Hope he gets back sooner than later. Just man to man, in terms of him, what he’s been through, it’s tough for sure. There’s no sugarcoating it at all. You hate seeing that opportunity again on this big stage taken away from him like that.”

On May 19, 2018, Cousins posted a picture to Twitter and Instagram that showed Wilkins moments after he ruptured his Achilles. It gave Cousins hope and he praised the legend’s comeback. Shortly after, the two NBA stars connected. “I reached out to him,” Wilkins told HoopsHype. “I told him, ‘Don’t listen to all of the critics. Nobody knows your heart the way that you do. Use that to your advantage. Don’t let all of the critics dictate who you are.’”

Some fans questioned why Wilkins has been willing to help a rival player, considering he is Atlanta’s Vice President of Basketball and Cousins obviously plays for the Warriors. However, for Wilkins, this is much bigger than competing with Golden State. “People look at it and ask why I’m lighting a fire in a guy who isn’t on my team, but, to me, that doesn’t matter,” Wilkins explained. “It’s not about that! It’s about helping someone continue to fulfill their dreams. That’s what was the most important thing to me because, look, I’ve been through it! I’ve been through this. I know what he’s dealing with.”

After getting to know Cousins throughout this process, Wilkins has become a big believer in the former Kentucky product. “I would be very surprised if he didn’t come back and get back to the level he once was at,” Wilkins said. “He’s a guy who absolutely loves to play. He plays with emotion. He plays with a fire. And the good thing for him is he was a lot younger at 27 years old [than I was when I had the injury]. He’s a guy who’s really committed. We’ve had some great conversations. I love his game. I really do love his game,” Wilkins continued. “He plays with a lot of emotion and passion, and I have no problem with that. He’s a guy who’s always going to play hard and he’s going to go after guys. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and that’s what makes you great. He’s one of those throwback guys [who remind me] of the players you’d see back when I played. He’s that kind of guy.”

Nick DePaula: EXCLUSIVE: DeMarcus Cousins will debut with the Warriors on Friday in this Puma Clyde Court PE. Shoes feature a racing flag graphic and @BoogieCousins’ mantra “The Marathon Continues…” as he returns to action.

Dominique Wilkins could hear the melancholy in DeMarcus Cousins’ voice last June. Five months removed from a season-ending Achilles injury, Cousins’ career was suddenly in doubt: Would anyone pick him up in free agency? Could he play at an All-Star level again? During that phone conversation, Wilkins told Cousins not to worry about his critics because “no one knows your heart like you do.” The Hall of Famer’s message resonated. Twenty-six years earlier, Wilkins was 32 when he tore his right Achilles tendon, only to come back nine months later and make two more All-NBA teams.

“People always doubt people first before they give people credit for how quickly they can come back from those types of injuries, but it depends on the person,” Wilkins said. “I think DeMarcus is a guy who’s put the work in and is going to be fine.” The breakthrough for Cousins came in the past couple of weeks, when he started to show flashes of dominance in workouts. Finally, after almost 12 months of rehab, Cousins looked self-assured as he leapt for rebounds and threw down dunks. Instead of worrying about his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, the four-time All-Star was able to play on instinct.

Through a handful of phone calls, DeMarcus Cousins received a blueprint on how to overcome the biggest challenge of his nine-year NBA career. Well before he could even begin his rehab, Cousins contacted one of the NBA’s best dunkers (former Atlanta Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins), one of the league’s best scorers (former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant), a former teammate (San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay) and a dependable NBA role player (Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Mathews). Shortly after the Warriors signed Cousins to a one-year $5.3 million deal last July with their mid-level taxpayer exception, Cousins spoke with the Warriors’ other free agent acquisition (Jonas Jerebko).

“I wasn’t really looking for a specific answer to get through it,” Cousins said. “I wanted to see what each guy’s mindset was and compare it to my own.” Each players’ journey has been different. They mostly stressed similar messages, though. While Wilkins advised Cousins “not to listen to the critics,” Gay instructed Cousins, “don’t feel sorry for yourself.” A few months following Cousins’ surgery on Jan. 31, 2018, Mathews told him “to take his time.” Shortly after the two became teammates last summer, Jerebko argued the same thing.
3 months ago via ESPN

Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Warriors last summer, will make his long-awaited return to the floor after rehabbing a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered Jan. 26, 2018. “He’ll start,” Kerr said after Thursday’s practice. “I’ll start him. After that, everything’s on the table. We have to figure out what the rotations will look like, how many minutes he can play. We’ll have to play around with the minutes, the combinations, the sets. “We haven’t had a player like him here before. So it will be new; it won’t be as simple [as] plug him in and he’ll fit right in. We’re going to play through him some so there will be a period where we all have to adapt. Fortunately we’re halfway through the year, we have a lot of games to figure this out.”

Cousins is expected to take a leave of absence from the Warriors to attend his grandmother’s funeral on Jan. 4 in his hometown of Mobile. “She was the foundation of the family,” a teary-eyed Cousins said. “So, I’m going into 2019 with that. She was everything for us. … She was the root of our family. To lose a vital piece like that to our family is devastating to everyone. “She lived an incredible and very long life. She went out happy. She went out painless. I couldn’t have asked for a better life for my grandma.”

“It’s not about my Achilles, not about one specific part of my body; it’s my entire body. It’s about being out of shape, taking a year off basketball, then jumping into an NBA game. That leaves you pretty open to get another injury, like a hammy strain.” The Warriors are also going to ask him to defend like he never has before. They know the teams that matter will target him, will drag him out on the perimeter, will leverage the Warriors’ switching scheme to test his recovered leg, his lateral movement (never one of his strengths) and willingness to defend at a playoff level, a foreign world to Cousins.

After facing three more questions about DeMarcus Cousins’ rehab progress, Kerr, a little bit tired of the subject, delivered an answer that should end any bubbling optimism that Cousins could make his return before the calendar year ends. “We’re not really that close,” Kerr said. “I don’t want this to be about: ‘Hey, we’re right there.’ We’re not right there. It’s still going to be some time. We’re going to be patient and continue to give DeMarcus the space he needs to prepare. When the time is right, we’ll have some things planned for him.”

After practicing twice this week with Golden State’s G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, center DeMarcus Cousins isn’t necessarily close to making his Warriors debut. “That’s why we still don’t have a timetable,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said. “He needs to feel confident with the Achilles, his conditioning, his rhythm, his timing and everything else. We’re not going to rush him back. We’re going to help him through that process. When it happens, it happens.”
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April 22, 2019 | 11:28 am EDT Update
But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn’t offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards’ new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green’s defensive rating was 112.6. The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career.
The NBA on TNT crew — ex-players Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and sportscaster Ernie Johnson — also weighed in on the topic during a segment on Sunday. “First of all, that’s unprofessional,” Barkley said. “Part of our job is to talk to the press. We don’t make $30-40 million just to play basketball. People are gonna interrupt you when you have dinner. You have to sign autographs. You have to take pictures. Some of the other stuff is talking to the press. Russ has got to do better. Russ is a great dude. And just because a reporter says something bad about you, you don’t get the right to just say ‘next question.’ “
O’Neal took a different stance. “I’m gonna disagree with both of y’all, because I was Russell Westbrook — sensitive, and if I don’t want to talk to you, I don’t have to talk to you,” O’Neal said. “Our job is to talk to the media. I don’t have to talk to one particular guy. Media is media members like four or five. … A lot of guys (in the media) try to get personal and try to be cute and try to get their followers … so if you’re sticking to the facts, ‘Hack-a-Shaq, he can’t shoot,’ I ain’t got no problem. But once you try to get personal and start doing that, man to man, I don’t have to talk to you as a man if I don’t want to talk to you.”
April 22, 2019 | 9:34 am EDT Update
The Durant rumors started before the Knicks played a game, and point guard Emmanuel Mudiay was aware of it. He spoke to SI TV about it, and while this was not a distraction, it became a difficult topic to ignore: “I wouldn’t say it’s weird. I would say it’s kind of expected. It could get weird for a rookie or a second-year guy. Just because you’re not really used to that, but at the same time, that’s just what the media is going to do. They’re going to try to build up a story, and that’s their job. That’s what they have to do, so you kind of just have to keep your head down and finish out the season and play every day as if he’s not there — which he’s not there yet. “Is that someone New York definitely wants? No doubt, with what he’s done in his career. The scorer he is. The type of player he is. The type of person he is. I wouldn’t say it’s a distraction, but I would say you can’t miss it.
Storyline: Kevin Durant to Knicks?