Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago on Saturday that big man DeMarcus Cousins is on pace to get healthy from a torn ACL by the postseason, which begins in mid-April (22:11 mark).
"He's on track to get healthy by the playoffs, and we'll have to see where he's at with rhythm and conditioning and timing and all that stuff," Vogel said. "But there's a possibility he returns this season, yes."
Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Lakers last offseason, suffered the injury in August.
The 29-year-old is a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA team member.
Injuries have curtailed his career over the past few years. A ruptured Achilles suffered in January 2018 while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans kept him off the court for a full calendar year.
He signed with the Golden State Warriors during the 2018 offseason and returned to action in January 2019 with a minutes limit.
Cousins fared well in Golden State with 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in just 25.7 minutes of action, but he suffered a torn quadriceps on April 15 and did not return until the NBA Finals.
The ex-Kentucky star then suffered a torn ACL in August 2019 during preseason workouts.
Cousins is a dominant scorer and rebounder at his best, averaging 25.9 points and 11.9 rebounds from 2014 to 2018.
A return for the postseason will only make an already-stout big man group stronger. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee have excelled splitting time at center, and power forward Anthony Davis can play a few minutes there if called upon as well.
The Lakers don't need Cousins to contribute anything close to starters' minutes, so a postseason return is a luxury and welcome sight for a 41-12 team currently leading the Western Conference.