Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury

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1 week 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.”
2 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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