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Report: DeMarcus Cousins tears ACL

BIG3 - Week Seven - Chicago

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 03: DeMarcus Cousins walks across the court during week seven of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Allstate Arena on August 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/BIG3 via Getty Images)

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DeMarcus Cousins’ reported knee injury that sounded scary?

It’s as bad as feared.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

This is such devastating news for Cousins, who already worked back from two major leg injuries in the last couple years. Just before that, he was a star making his case as the NBA’s best center. This is even more reason to believe his career will never again near that track.

Maybe Cousins will return late this season – especially if the Lakers advance far enough in the playoffs. But given his size and injury history, I wouldn’t count on it.

Cousins is on just a one-year, $3.5 million contract. He’ll likely enter 2020 free agency with far more concern about his health than he faced this summer. And concern this year – about his torn Achilles with the Pelicans and quad injury with the Warriors – already limited him to this small deal.

The Lakers must probably now use their final open regular-season roster spot on a center. They’re down to just JaVale McGee and Anthony Davis, who prefers not to play the position. LeBron James or Jared Dudley could play center in ultra-small lineups, but that’s probably not sustainable.

Kenneth Faried and Nene are still free agents.