OAKLAND – DeMarcus Cousins has entered the anxious stage of his rehabilitation, which means he so badly wants it to end that he is scrimmaging as often as he can, for as long as he can, because he can sense his Warriors debut is near.
“We’re nearing the finish line,” general manager Bob Myers said on Monday.
Nothing changed on Wednesday, when the Warriors went through their first practice of 2019. Cousins, in the final stages of rehab from Achilles’ tendon surgery 11 months ago, did everything his teammates did.
“He’s starting to feel the finish line getting closer and closer,” teammate Quinn Cook said after the session.
Coach Steve Kerr, however, downshifted a bit on the 6-foot-11, 260-pound center.
“I don’t know exactly when he’s going to play,” he said, “but he practiced fully today and he’s got to continue to work on his conditioning.”
In the final stages of rehab from Achilles tendon surgery, Cousins is so eager to play that, according to team sources, he wants to bypass some of the physical drudgery required for clearance. His performances in scrimmages have been uneven enough for the Warriors to wonder if he’s bored with the rehab routine, or needs more time.
That’s where Rick Celebrini, the team’s director of sports medicine comes in. He received lavish praise since arriving last summer and his most valuable current project is to prepare Cousins for NBA activity. There are times when it goes well, and there are times when it is challenging.
“I’ve got to feel good about putting him on the floor, DeMarcus has to feel good about being on the floor and Rick has to feel good about his safety, going on the floor and not reinjuring himself,” Kerr said.
Listening to coaches and teammates, as well as Myers, it’s likely that, barring a physical setback, Cousins will be cleared sometime this month. The coaching staff is starting to prepare for him to get back on the floor.
“We don’t have a ton of new plays for him,” Kerr said. “We have a few plays that we’ll have for him, for sure, but he’s got to come in and fit with us more than vice versa. I don’t think that will be a problem, because he’s very skilled. He can shoot threes and he’s a good passer, so we’ll try to put him in position to accentuate his skills. And then he’s got to adapt to the players around him.
“It’ll take some time, but I don’t feel like we have to change our offense to fit him in.”