Warriors' DeMarcus Cousins ‘most likely' won't return for NBA playoffs


Steve Kerr said the Warriors aren't expecting injured center DeMarcus Cousins to return in the NBA playoffs. 

"He will not need surgery," the coach told reporters Wednesday in Oakland. "DeMarcus, most likely, will not be back during the playoffs.

“You're probably looking at a couple months' recovery, so it's unlikely. But [Warriors director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini] told me that there are occasions where that injury heals faster. So we're leaving the door open, obviously."

Cousins tore his left quadriceps minutes into a Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. It was just the 28-year-old's second postseason game. Should he miss the remainder of the Warriors' playoff run, it will be the second straight year in which an injury to Cousins' left leg cut his season short. 

In January 2018, Cousins ruptured his left Achilles tendon while diving for a loose ball. As a result, Cousins missed out on making his playoff debut with the New Orleans Pelicans that spring, and on a sizable payday in free agency.

Before signing a one-year Warriors deal worth the taxpayer's mid-level exception ($5.3 million) after he said he did not receive any significant offers in free agency. Cousins appeared destined for a super-max contract before the Achilles injury, and he was in the middle of what likely would have been an All-NBA season.

[RELATED: Curry's numbers could score with Cousins out, and here's why]

Cousins missed the first 45 games of the 2018-19 season as he worked his way back from the injury, and made his Warriors debut on Jan. 18, 2019, against the Clippers. He had an up-and-down 30 games in the regular season, but he averaged 17.3 points (on 51 percent shooting), 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game from March 1 onward. 

"More than anything, I'm just crushed for DeMarcus," Kerr said Wednesday. "He's been waiting his whole career for [the playoffs], and then the second game, he goes down after putting all that work in to recover from the Achilles. And he's had a great season for us — he's really come along the last month or so. I just feel bad for him."

In the meantime, Kerr said Andrew Bogut will start at center in Game 3, while Kevon Looney continues to come off the bench.

The Warriors went 31-14 in their first 45 games without Cousins, and they'll hope for similar form through the remainder of the playoffs. 

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