According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Cousins suffered the injury after “bumping knees” with another player during a workout in Las Vegas on Monday. While no timetable for his return has been reported yet, ACL tears can take up to a year to heal, especially for someone that is less than two years removed from an Achilles tear like Cousins. In other words, it is more than likely that Cousins will miss the remainder of the season.
The Lakers signed Cousins to a one-year, fully-guaranteed contract worth $3.5 million in July. Assuming no guaranteed contracts are waived, the team has just one roster spot they can use for help in the frontcourt. Unfortunately, the list of names available in mid-August aren’t as inspiring as they were in early-July with the exception of maybe Joakim Noah, who had a bounce-back season in Memphis last season.
It’s for that reason the Lakers will likely stick with Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee at center until someone pokes free in the regular season like Tyson Chandler did last season. They could also experiment with Kostas Antetokounmpo at center, but considering he struggled at center in summer league, that will probably be a last resort.
No one will be able to replicate the combination of shooting, passing and rebounding that Cousins was expected to offer the Lakers, but they’ll have to find ways to fill the gaps if they want to contend for a title next season.