Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said DeMarcus Cousins will play in "short bursts" Friday night during his season debut against the Los Angeles Clippers, but noted the center won't have a formal limit on his playing time in his first game after recovering from a torn Achilles.
Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle provided the update from Kerr. Anthony Slater of The Athletic passed along Cousins' comments about his minutes:
The 28-year-old University of Kentucky product has been sidelined since last January because of the injury. He left the New Orleans Pelicans in free agency to sign a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the already star-studded and two-time reigning NBA champion Warriors.
"This was my ace of spades," Cousins told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated in July. "This was my chess move."
On Thursday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported Cousins had pushed to return a "few weeks ago," but backed off those efforts when the team said he'd be limited to 10 minutes per game.
Now there won't be any definitive restrictions, but it's clear Golden State is still going to proceed with a certain level of caution while he works back into game shape.
That's particularly important for the high-flying Dubs, who lead the league in offensive efficiency and rank 10th in pace, per ESPN.com.
Mark Medina of the Mercury News noted Kerr explained the Warriors aren't going to change their approach despite Cousins' return likely leading to more traditional lineup combinations with both him and Draymond Green on the floor:
Kerr added it's "thinking too far ahead" to think about what five players he'll use in crunch time of close games, though he's decided the need to accept roles with the loaded roster, per Medina.
The Warriors own the best record in the Western Conference at 31-14 and only the Denver Nuggets (30-14) are within four games, so they have some flexibility to work Cousins in slowly while testing out various lineup structures in the season's second half.