DeMarcus Cousins Out vs. Nuggets with Ankle Injury

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 19:  DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts during the first half of a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Smoothie King Center on March 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

As the New Orleans Pelicans look to make a final playoff push in the Western Conference, an injury to DeMarcus Cousins' right ankle is not going to help their quest.

Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports reported Cousins will miss Sunday's game against the Denver Nuggets with the ankle ailment.

The Pelicans made a big splash coming out of the All-Star break by acquiring Cousins from the Sacramento Kings. The big man's scoring output has decreased slightly since arriving in New Orleans, but he's still putting up an eye-popping 22.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks across his first 13 games with the Pelicans.

Cousins hasn't been able to avoid the injury bug over the past few seasons, though. The three-time All-Star missed 23 games in 2014-15 because of various ailments, including a bout with viral meningitis. The former No. 5 overall pick was absent for 17 games last season as well.

This season has been a different story for Cousins, who has been healthy and playing the best basketball of his career. Through 68 games, the 26-year-old is averaging 26.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and a career-high 4.6 assists.

With Cousins on the sidelines, Dante Cunningham will start in his place, according to ESPN.com's Justin Verrier. Anthony Davis will slide over to the center spot and should see the lion's share of the minutes there.

The Pelicans don't have much frontcourt depth beyond Cousins and Davis, so losing one of them for any length of time makes their already slim hopes for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference even more difficult.