Warriors' DeMarcus Cousins Progressing, Could Return from Injury This Playoffs

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2019

Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins reacts after falling to the floor during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters DeMarcus Cousins could return at some point during the 2019 postseason if the team continues advancing.

"He's coming along pretty well, so we'll wait and see," Kerr said of Cousins.

Kerr described Cousins' progress as "normal progression," meaning he is not ahead or behind schedule from the torn quad he suffered against the Los Angeles Clippers. The expectation is Cousins will miss the remainder of the playoffs, but the Warriors are keeping the door open.

Kerr also said center Damian Jones is expected to be cleared for contact next week, meaning it's possible he could also return during the postseason. Jones has not played since suffering a torn pectoral in December.

Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 48.0 percent shooting during the regular season. He was limited to 30 games while recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered in the 2017-18 season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Warriors signed Cousins last summer for their mid-level exception, with the All-Star coming aboard seemingly for a one-year rejuvenation of his value before hitting the market again. While Cousins flashed some of his former ability, he struggled at times to acclimate with the Warriors and then went down with a second serious leg injury.

If Cousins does not return during the playoffs, he'll re-enter free agency as a soon-to-be 29-year-old big man with a huge frame coming off two serious leg injuries. Cousins' appeal in Sacramento and New Orleans was his combination of size and surprising athleticism; though never a big dunker, Cousins was always more fleet of foot side-to-side than he was given credit.

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The NBA Finals stage may provide Cousins a chance to show perspective suitors what he can do, but it'd be hard to justify returning when it comes to preserving his long-term health. 

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