Just a few hours before Team USA took the floor at the UCLA Health Training in El Segundo on Thursday, the news broke that Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus had suffered a torn ACL in a scrimmage he played in earlier in the week.
After practice, several people within Team USA extended their condolences to the 29-year-old, who has suffered three major leg injuries over the last two years, including an Achilles tear in 2018 that kept him sidelined for a year. Among them were Cousins’ Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma and his former Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Kuzma was taken aback by the news and didn’t want to believe it was true at first. However, after being told it had been confirmed by Cousins’ agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, he gave his thoughts on the sobering news (via Lakers.com):
“I haven’t really heard nothing from anybody or what not so I don’t know all the facts or what necessarily happened but if It’s true, then obviously he was going to be a big part of what we’re going to do.
“It’s no joke when you get injured. This is our livelihood and something that we love to do and it’s super unfortunate for a guy like DeMarcus because you can just tell me much he loves basketball. Through all of his injuries he’s kind of fought back and tried to get back as early as possible and that’s just kind of how the ball goes sometimes. You just never really know. That’s why you’ve just got to count your blessings, take it at that and be grateful.”
It’s not just the injury that’s devastating for Cousins, though—it’s the volume and magnitude of injuries he’s had to deal with over the last couple of years, something Kerr told Ben Golliver of the Washington Post is unprecedented in the NBA:
“I saw. I read [the report] on the way to practice and, you know, it’s been a couple years of hell for DeMarcus with the injury. First the Achilles, then last year in the [playoffs] with the quad … I was really hoping that this would be a year for him upcoming with the Lakers where he could get healthy, get his rhythm, get his conditioning and really start his comeback. We’re all crushed for him and everybody in this gym—all these fellow players and coaches. This is a small community, so everybody’s been talking about and we’ve all reached out to him and we all just feel terrible for him.
“Injuries are part of the game, but when you’re talking about a player who has now dealt with the two most feared injuries for NBA players—the Achilles & the ACL—each basically knocking you out for an entire season. To deal with over a two and half, three- year span; it’s unheard of. What a blow for him, for the Lakers and he’s going to have process it all and start all over again … Hopefully he can get back on the bike and start riding nine months from now, or whatever it is.”
Cousins is in the process of scheduling a date for surgery, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
While it would be nice to see Cousins make a speedy recovery and suit up in the purple and gold this season, the most important thing for him right is to let his leg fully heal and put himself in the best position for a comeback in the 2020-21 season. Get well soon, Boogie.