Lakers News: DeMarcus Cousins on Track for Playoff Return After ACL Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 16, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Injured Los Angeles Lakers DeMarcus Cousins #15 works out shooting prior to the start of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on February 08, 2020 in San Francisco, 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 Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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.

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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.