NBA Finals: Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins ‘pain-free’ and could play against Raptors
TORONTO – Golden State center DeMarcus Cousins is close to returning from a torn quadriceps.
“I feel good. It's healed for the most part. I'm still working things into shape, building the muscle endurance to play at a high level,” Cousins said Wednesday during media day for the NBA Finals.
But Warriors coach Steve Kerr isn’t ready to stay Cousins will play against the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 on Thursday.
“If this were the regular season, I would throw him out there and he would play whatever minutes he could tolerate and we would build him up from there,” Kerr said. “This is not the regular season. This is the Finals. So we have to figure out what's the best way to utilize him, how many minutes can he play, what the game feels like, what the match-ups are like.
"Some of that will be determined by what's happening in the game, and the other stuff is just internal with our staff.”
Steve Kerr says the Warriors are strategizing for the best way to utilize DeMarcus Cousins in the #NBAFinals. pic.twitter.com/7IFTksIPmF
Warriors forward Draymond Green had a more colorful way to describe Cousins’ possible return.
“You start to talk playoff experience, where you and I both know the intensity level is completely different than a regular-season game, and he doesn't have much playoff experience,” Green said. “And then you get dropped in the NBA Finals.
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"It's kind of like some kid who grew up in the suburbs going to private school and then one day you just got dropped in the 'hood and was told to survive. You got to figure that out. It's very similar to that."
Cousins sustained the injury in Game 2 of the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers, and Kerr admitted, “We felt at the time (it) was season-ending.”
DeMarcus Cousins has been sidelined with a torn quadriceps since Game 2 of the first round. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports)
It was just Cousins’ 32nd game with the Warriors after missing a majority of last season and this season with a torn left Achilles.
“He's done an incredible job of rebounding, rehabbing,” Kerr said. “Now here he is, he's scrimmaged a couple times this week. He's pain-free. So it's really more a matter of rhythm and timing and conditioning, all those things.”
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