EL SEGUNDO -- The NBA is a small world and it felt a little smaller Thursday with the news of another catastrophic injury for Los Angeles Lakers big man DeMarcus Cousins.
Slowed by injuries over the last two seasons, reports of an ACL tear for Cousins hit Team USA before the players and coaches took the floor for training at the Lakers practice facility.
“I’m devastated for DeMarcus, I read it on the way to practice,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said following practice. “It’s been a couple of years of hell for DeMarcus with the injuries.”
The former Sacramento Kings draft pick and New Orleans Pelican star spent last season in Golden State and was part of the squad that made it all the way to the NBA Finals before injuries piled up.
He played just 30 games in his lone season with the Warriors after tearing his Achilles the year before. He returned in time to get back into game shape heading into the playoffs, but he tore his left quad during Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Clippers.
Cousins battled back from injury again during the post season and was cleared to play in the Finals. He made an impact in the Warriors’ two wins, but in the four losses, the 29-year-old struggled to find a rhythm.
With the summer to heal up and prepare for the upcoming season, Cousins joined LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers on a one-year contract in July. With his latest setback, there is a strong chance he will miss the 2019-20 season in its entirety.
“I was really hoping that would be a year for him upcoming with the Lakers where he could get healthy, get his rhythm, get his conditioning and really start his comeback,” Kerr said. “We’re all crushed for him - everybody in this gym, all of these coaches and players. This is a small community.”
Kerr said he had reached out to Cousins, although he did not mention whether he spoke to the All-Star center.
It's another tough blow for a player that was once considered one of the best centers in the league.
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“Injuries are part of the game, but when you’re talking about a player that has now dealt with the two most feared injuries for NBA players, the Achilles and the ACL, each basically knocking you out for an entire season, to deal with that over a two and a half, three year span, that’s unheard of,” Kerr added. “I don’t know. What a blow for him, for the Lakers. He’s going to have to process it all and start all over again.”
There is no word on when Cousins will undergo surgery on his left left knee, and the recovery time is usually a minimum of nine months, which rules him out for most if not all of the upcoming season.