Here's what's ahead for DeMarcus Cousins, Warriors after quad injury

Here's what's ahead for DeMarcus Cousins, Warriors after quad injury

OAKLAND -- The questions started coming minutes after DeMarcus Cousins limped into the Warriors' locker room Monday night during the first quarter of Golden State's 135-131 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of their first-round NBA playoff series.

Among the topics were questions about his injury, about whether the 6-foot-11, 270-pound center could return during the playoffs, about his professional future and his future with the Warriors.

We’ll try to answer them as best we can with what we know:

Q: What exactly is Cousins’ injury?

An MRI on Tuesday revealed a torn muscle of the left quadriceps (the area inches above the knee), the Warriors announced Tuesday afternoon. It will not require surgery. Cousins is out “indefinitely” and will begin rehabilitation immediately.

Q: Is it possible that Cousins can return during the playoffs (assuming the Warriors advance to at least the Western Conference finals)

Highly unlikely. This injury typically requires a period of immobilization, followed by weeks of rehab. Game 7 of the NBA Finals, if necessary, will be played no later than June 16.

Q: With Cousins out, who gets the minutes at center for the Warriors?

It’s back to center-by-circumstance, as it was in the first two seasons under coach Steve Kerr. Depending on the opponent or their center, Andrew Bogut will get some starts, Kevon Looney could get starts, as might Jordan Bell. All three are in play. Damian Jones, who started the first six weeks before sustaining a torn left pectoral muscle, has progressed to playing 3-on-3, but the Warriors have not established a timeline for his return.

But the Warriors’ best lineup was one without Cousins. It’s the Hamptons 5 group, with Draymond Green at center, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala at forwards, and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at guards. This is Kerr’s go-to lineup for 10 to 12 minutes per game, and that won’t change.

Q: Is this related to the ruptured left Achilles’ tendon Cousins sustained in January 2018 that required surgery?

Probably. When one part of an elite athlete’s leg is weakened, it’s common for other parts to compensate. Though there are therapies designed to minimize that, it’s still likely the amount of stress placed on the quad of a 270-pound basketball player compromises that area.

Q: Is there a chance Cousins can return to the Warriors next season?

Chances are greater now than they were before this injury. Cousins signed a one-year contract last summer for the taxpayer midlevel (roughly $5.34 million) with a goal of playing well enough to command a multiyear deal worth at least $20 million, putting him well beyond the financial range of the Warriors, who because of the collective bargaining agreement could offer just a 20 percent raise, or about $6.4 million.

This injury, however, significantly lowers the market rate for Cousins. No team is likely to step forward with a lucrative multiyear deal, so he could tumble back into the Warriors' budget.

There would have to be mutual interest, and there is no certainty of that.

[RELATED: Nobody can be certain about Dubs after Game 2 collapse]

Q: Does this injury threaten Cousins’ career?

Potentially. The grueling 10-month rehab required after Achilles tendon surgery nearly broke him. He acknowledged there were a lot of “dark” moments. After another serious setback, there is no knowing how Cousins will respond. He will need significant physical therapy, as well as knowledgeable emotional support.

Warriors' rest advantage grows with Raptors' Game 4 win against Bucks

Warriors' rest advantage grows with Raptors' Game 4 win against Bucks

If you subscribe to the notion that a playoff series doesn't begin until a home team loses, well, then the Eastern Conference finals have yet to begin.

After dropping the first two games of the series on the road, the Toronto Raptors evened the series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night with a 120-102 victory at Scotiabank Arena in Game 4.

In winning each of the last two games at home, Toronto has ensured that the Eastern Conference finals will go at least six games. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors have already advanced to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in four games.

Golden State has plenty of time to rest up before the Finals begin on May 30th. Whichever team represents the Eastern Conference won't have as much of a luxury.

Given the fact that several players on the Warriors' roster -- most notably Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins -- missed part or all of the series sweep of the Blazers with injuries, the extra time off before the Finals begin certainly comes in handy.

[RELATED: Dubs overcome injuries to earn some much-needed rest]

Game 6 between the Bucks and Raptors is on Sat. May 25th, meaning whichever team that comes out of the East will have at most four days to recuperate before the Finals begin.

That would already seem to be a significant advantage for Golden State, but if you want to get greedy, there's plenty of reason to believe the Eastern Conference finals could require a Game 7.

Patrick Beverley says Clippers gave Warriors best challenge in playoffs

Patrick Beverley says Clippers gave Warriors best challenge in playoffs

Programming note: Watch the NBA Finals pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is a confident person.

Beverley doesn't back down from anybody and he speaks his mind freely.

On Tuesday morning, he made the following declaration on Twitter:

Sorry Mr. Beverley, but we respectfully disagree.

Here were the results of the Warriors-Clippers first-round NBA playoff series:
Game 1 = Warriors 121, Clippers 104
Game 2 = Clippers 135, Warriors 131 (Golden State led by 31 points with about 7:30 left in the third quarter)
Game 3 = Warriors 132, Clippers 105
Game 4 = Warriors 113, Clippers 105
Game 5 = Clippers 129, Warriors 101
Game 6 = Warriors 129, Clippers 110

The Dubs' average margin of victory was nearly 18 points.

In the second round, the Rockets beat the Warriors twice and every game was decided by six points or less.

Although Golden State swept Portland in the Western Conference finals, the Blazers had the following leads:
Game 2 = 17 points early in the third quarter
Game 3 = 18 points late in the second quarter
Game 4 = 17 points with less than two minutes left in the third quarter

[RELATEDDame says Dubs-Blazers 'completely different' with one change]

While you could make the argument that the Clippers gave a better challenge than the Blazers, the Rockets clearly were the most formidable foe.

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