DeMarcus Cousins injured his Achilles tendon in the New Orleans Pelicans’ 115-113 home win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
According to multiple reports, an MRI confirmed that Cousins suffered a full rupture of his Achilles and he’ll miss the rest of the season.
ESPN guru Adrian Wojnarowski said he will be out for six to 10 months.
Range on recovery for DeMarcus Cousins, league source tells ESPN: 6-to-10 months.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 27, 2018
That means Cousin would miss not only the rest of this season but also part of next season, not returning until around Thanksgiving.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters Friday night, “We’re scared about it. I feel horrible for him. Everything that he’s done and what he’s made himself and the improvements in all areas that he’s made, on and off the court, it’s just been great. Our guys feel terrible.”
The injury happened when Cousins missed a free throw, went up to get his own rebound and swatted at the ball. He then grabbed his left leg and ended up on the deck.
He had to be helped off the court.
New Orleans led 113-109 at the time with just 8.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Boogie was almost home free.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 27, 2018
The Pelicans ran their record to 27-21 with the win, good for sixth in the Western Conference, but with 34 games left to be played, only three games between themselves and the ninth-place Los Angeles Clippers at 24-24, and Anthony Davis, their other All-Star, notoriously prone to injury himself (Davis has missed six games this year and has averaged only 67 games played in his first five years in the league), this could be the death knell for their playoff hopes.
Which in turn puts Cousins in a dubious position; he is second among active players and sixth all time in most career games played without a playoff appearance at 535, and the guy immediately in front of him, Omri Casspi, is on the Golden State Warriors and, unless traded, will drop off the list in April.
He’s certainly the best player on that list; Cousins averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game in his 48 appearances this season.
If New Orleans misses the playoffs, Cousins’ pursuit of Tom Van Arsdale’s record of 929 games played without a playoff appearance continues full steam ahead; even if the Pelicans make the playoffs, Cousins himself will not suit up for any of the playoff games. Even though most pundits would say, “But he helped get that team to the playoffs,” putting an asterisk on things if Cousins never sees the postseason again, he will still never see playoff action.
It’s not like Davis is a perpetual playoff guy, either; his only playoff experience was a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the eventual champion Warriors in 2015, and New Orleans only made the playoffs that year because the Oklahoma City Thunder saw Kevin Durant miss 55 games and Russell Westbrook miss 15, falling short of the playoffs on a tiebreaker at 45-37 on the last day of the season. He is otherwise the epitome of a “great stats, bad team” guy.
Then again, so was Boogie in Sacramento.
New Orleans is already 23rd in the NBA in defensive rating and, thanks to their fast pace, 29th in the league in raw points allowed per game at 110.6. The Pelicans have previously made up for this with their offense, third in the league in points per game at 111.1 and sixth when you adjust that number for pace.
Does anyone seriously believe that Cheick Diallo and Omer Asik are going to give anything close to what Cousins brought to the center position? After all, Asik couldn’t guard a corpse, and as for Diallo, per 100 possessions, the Pelicans’ scoring margin is 26.8 points better with him off the floor than it is when he’s out there playing.
So the big winners in this? Well, besides the Clippers, how about whichever All-Star snub (Paul George, anyone?) gets into the game as a result of Cousins’ injury opening up a spot on Team LeBron.
Cousins’ teammates and other NBA players were quick to offer their condolences on social media.
— Anthony Davis (@AntDavis23) January 27, 2018
— DMill (@DmillerKY) January 27, 2018
Thoughts and prayers for my big bro @boogiecousins . You will be back stronger.
— _cd13 (@cheick_diallo13) January 27, 2018
Thoughts out to @boogiecousins! Hope you good big fella. 🙏🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 27, 2018
It’s a dark day in New Orleans. But on the bright side, they’ve still got Mardi Gras coming up, so at least they can drown their sorrows in king cakes and Hurricanes.
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