Warriors Rumors: DeMarcus Cousins Aiming to Return from Injury After Christmas

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors during warm up before the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 12, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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 Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins is hoping to return to the court after Christmas, the Mercury News' Logan Murdock reported on Monday. 

According to Murdock, Cousins had originally wanted to make his Warriors debut during the team's five-game road trip, which starts Thursday and runs through Dec. 7:

"Nonetheless, there have been no setbacks in his recovery process and the decision to push his target date back was made so Cousins can regain his conditioning and enter the lineup at peak form, according to a source. Cousins is expected to be re-evaluated on his progress Tuesday, according to a source."

Cousins is still recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered in January. The fact he'd miss a big chunk of the 2018-19 campaign was apparent when he signed with the Warriors in the summer.

ESPN.com's Zach Lowe reported in July there was some belief Cousins could be back as soon as late November or early December but that "it would not be a shock if he doesn't appear in a real game until around Christmas."

The Warriors are one of the few teams that can afford to have a four-time All-Star center sit on the bench and slow play his recovery. They're the two-time defending NBA champions and have no shortage of star power.

Golden State has faced some adversity this season, but those issues are largely independent of Cousins. The tension between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green goes back well before he arrived in the offseason. And having Cousins on the court probably wouldn't have prevented the Warriors from ranking 18th in defensive rating (108.9), per NBA.com.

Assuming Cousins is back sometime before the new year, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will have plenty of time to adapt his rotations and strategy in time for the 2019 playoffs. Cousins would be afforded more than half of the season to show he's still one of the NBA's top centers before he hits free agency as well.