DeMarcus Cousins Says He Played Through Injury for Warriors in 2019 NBA Playoffs

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins against the Denver Nuggets during an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, April 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

DeMarcus Cousins said he "wasn't supposed to be on the floor" for the Golden State Warriors during the 2019 NBA Finals after suffering a torn left quadriceps in the first round of the playoffs.

Cousins told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Showtime's All The Smoke podcast (via Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area) that he played poorly against the Toronto Raptors because he rushed his recovery.

"I was terrible in the Finals. One-leg bandit on the floor," the center said. "But I wanted to be a part of it. In the Finals, you play hurt. That's when you lay your body on the line. I went out there and I gave it what I had. I helped in spots. But I wasn't supposed to be on the floor."

The 29-year-old explained he didn't want to miss the chance to play on the NBA's biggest stage, even though he wasn't at full strength. The Kentucky product did not make his season debut until January and played in 30 regular-season games before appearing only twice in the playoffs before the Finals.

"I just kept telling myself, 'This is what I've played for my entire career—to be on this stage, to have this opportunity. Whatever I gotta do to be able to be apart of that, I'm gonna do it,'" said Cousins, who was playing in his first playoffs in nine seasons. "I don't even know how I did it honestly. Do I regret it? Hell no. I'm OK with the results."

Here's a look at his complete All The Smoke interview:

The Warriors, who also had Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson suffer injuries in the Finals, lost to the Raptors in six games.

The four-time All-Star signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent in July. He's yet to play for the Lakers after suffering a torn ACL in August, but the team hasn't ruled him out for the rest of the season.

"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," L.A. head coach Frank Vogel told reporters. "But there's a possibility he returns this season, yes."

Cousins would likely be playing at less than peak form for the second straight year if he does return for the Lakers in the postseason, though.

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