Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury

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As for the game, Cousins sat on the bench in his warmups and uniform, instead of behind the bench in a suit, initially stationed next to Andre Iguodala before Iguodala entered the game. That was part of the plan hatched by the Warriors coaching staff. “The only thing we talked about last week was that we wanted him on the bench with the guys,” Kerr said. “He wanted to be there. It wasn’t like we had to twist his arm or anything. We want him out there sitting next to his teammates, sitting next to coaches, communicating and seeing how it all works with us. He was really communicating with Damian quite a bit tonight. It was good to see.”

DeMarcus Cousins to practice with team soon?

A day into Warriors training camp, DeMarcus Cousins is making solid progress in his rehab from a torn left Achilles tendon. “I don’t think it will take too long before he takes part in practice,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday afternoon. “But for right now, it’s important he gets his full workout with the training staff.” The 6-foot-11 center, entering his eighth NBA season, will be re-evaluated by team trainers Oct. 22, which rules him out of the team’s five preseason games and its first three regular-season games. Odds are, of course, that he’ll miss more time.

“DeMarcus did a ton of movement stuff, court work, ballhandling and shooting stuff on his own,” Kerr said, “but he did not take part with the team. We’re just taking it slowly with him.” Added 6-foot-9 forward Jordan Bell, who is competing for the starting center job in Cousins’ absence: “He’s getting better every day. These last two weeks, he’s been working out with little drills that we do. “He can still shoot and can still handle the ball. He’s obviously not 100 percent healthy yet, but you can tell every single day he’s getting better and better.”

Cousins is motivated to return better than ever and believes that the Warriors have scary potential: “My drive has only increased. I’m seriously like a madman right now. I think you guys will see a new DeMarcus on the floor. I can’t wait to get to that point just to show all the work I have put in, into this injury. I think you’ll see it when the product is on the floor. But when it comes to this team, I mean, it’s basically there. You can see it on paper. On paper it looks great. Of course we’ve got to go in and put the work in, but the potential is scary for this team, and it’s on us to bring that potential out.”

Do you have any read on where DeMarcus is health-wise right now? I know he won’t be ready for the start of camp next week, but how much do you think he’ll be able to do, how much will be around the practice portions? Steve Kerr: Well, he’s been around the last few weeks. He rehabbed in Las Vegas over the summer, but he’s been here (in the Bay Area) the last few weeks, settling into his new home and new life. He’s on the court every day working. He’s so skilled. He’s got such great hands, shoots the ball so well, fantastic passer. He’s been working on all that stuff. So he’ll do as much as he can during camp and that will be decided by our training staff, headed by Rick Celebrini and Drew Yoder. We’ll confer with them every day.

Do you have any read on where DeMarcus is health-wise right now? I know he won’t be ready for the start of camp next week, but how much do you think he’ll be able to do, how much will be around the practice portions? Steve Kerr: “Well, he’s been around the last few weeks. He rehabbed in Las Vegas over the summer, but he’s been here (in the Bay Area) the last few weeks, settling into his new home and new life. He’s on the court every day working. He’s so skilled. He’s got such great hands, shoots the ball so well, fantastic passer. He’s been working on all that stuff. So he’ll do as much as he can during camp and that will be decided by our training staff, headed by Rick Celebrini and Drew Yoder. We’ll confer with them every day.”

Just as the Warriors have done in the past two regular seasons, they have placed higher priority on Cousins’ long-term health than establishing a short-term timetable. Still, Cousins recently posted a video of him hoisting jump shots and driving to the basket. “He’s right on schedule. He hasn’t had any setbacks. He’s doing well,” Kerr said of Cousins. “Beyond that, there’s nothing. No prediction. Especially with an Achilles injury, you have to wait and see how the player responds once he’s on the court and moving at full speed.”

Question: He has said he was aiming to be ready for the season. That seems to have cooled. Where do you think target-wise he could potentially try to return? Myers: I don’t think we’ll know until he does another appointment. He has an appointment in the middle of July and then we’ll know. I think I’ve heard on track, the surgery is somewhere between 8-10 months from the time you have it. But for us, it won’t be: We need you to get out there tonight. It’ll be ramping it up slowly. You can’t really tell with any guy, him or any guy, until they get on the court and do certain things. The goal is for us to have him in the playoffs. That doesn’t mean we’ll wait for the playoffs. When he’s ready to play, he’ll play. We just don’t know when that will be.

If some of the NBA staffers occupying Thomas & Mack felt an unexpected shiver run through their bodies, it might have something to do with the next thing Brand said about Cousins: “I think he’s going to destroy the league once he comes back.” Brand then indicated that “destroy the league” might even be a tempered take, moderated based on his position. “I’m on a management staff, so I can’t talk that much about it,” he started, “but people are going to feel ridiculous for not giving him that money, in my opinion.”

After harboring hopes of returning from an Achilles tear by training camp, DeMarcus Cousins scaled back his expectations while talking to reporters in Las Vegas on Friday. The All-Star center, who officially signed with the Golden State Warriors, told media members that he would re-take the court “when I’m ready.” “I was aiming for training camp, but I’ve kind of communicated with the staff and the coaches,” Cousins said. “It’s kind of up in the air. It’ll be when I’m ready, one hundred percent ready.”

What does “great” mean as far as a timetable for a return? DeMarcus Cousins: “Just at the pace I’m improving, how well I’m improving. Some people may be aware, but they may not know about this injury. Usually you lose a lot of size in your leg and it takes a while to get that size basically where you have matching legs. For me, I didn’t lose any size in my leg, so that’s something that my doctors and the guys coaching me through this process have been raving about it. They are super excited about it. I didn’t lose much strength. It’s a lot of positives. Like I said, everything’s been great and it’s in the right direction.”

Cousins and Rondo built a strong bond during their days with Sacramento and also played well together in New Orleans. But that connection came to a halt when the Pelicans lost Cousins for the season to a torn left Achilles tendon on Jan. 28 against the Houston Rockets. Cousins was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. “I think ‘Cuz’ is doing well,” Rondo said. “He texted me right after [Game 2] with some encouraging words. He told me, ‘Way to fight,’ and he had a couple other things to say. He texts me all the time. He is still a really good friend of mine and one of the very best I’ve ever played with.”
6 months ago via ESPN

Cousins will be sitting courtside at the Smoothie King Center for the first time since he tore his Achilles in January. Up until this week, Cousins had been rehabbing in Los Angeles and was restricted from air travel. He did join the team for two road games in L.A., though. “It means a lot to us. I think it means a lot to him, as well, to be here supporting us,” Davis said after Cousins was at the team’s morning shootaround, chatting with teammates and coaches while wearing a walking boot on his left foot. “To be here, to be in front of his fans … it’s gonna be fun to see him back on the bench.”
8 months ago via ESPN

As New Orleans star Anthony Davis prepares for the second half of the season with the Pelicans holding on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference, he still thinks about what could have been this year had teammate DeMarcus Cousins not ruptured his Achilles. “We could have gone through the playoffs. No one could really stop us as bigs. We go to the Finals if we went,” Davis told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview over All-Star weekend. [Teammate Rajon Rondo] reminds us of it: ‘You guys are the two best bigs. I know what it takes to win championships; we got it.’”

A 2013 research paper published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that of 18 NBA players who ruptured their Achilles over 23 seasons, only eight returned to play for longer than one season. A player of Cousins’s caliber is naturally likely to return to the court, but those that do make it back onto the court have mixed results. Players like Elton Brand and Wes Matthews were never the same after returning. Isiah Thomas suffered a ruptured Achilles at age 32, then retired. Dominique Wilkins also had the same injury at age 32, then played until he was 39 and was named to two more All-NBA teams.

Cousins is a much bigger human being than Matthews and nobody can predict how he’ll come back from a major injury like this. “But at the same time, he’s not like (high-flyers) Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan,” Matthews said. “He’s skill-based. But obviously, you’re going to lose a step for a little bit. And more than anything, it’s a mental game. I believe he’s got the mentality to deal with and be stronger from it. But it’s a long road. There’s no doubt about that.”

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