Lakers’ DeMarcus Cousins ‘not close’ to a return, per Frank Vogel
DeMarcus Cousins was supposed to pair with Anthony Davis to give the Los Angeles Lakers a monstrous frontcourt heading into the 2019-20 season.
Instead, his injury woes continued. Cousins suffered a torn ACL in August, which eventually resulted in L.A.’s decision to reunite with Dwight Howard.
Howard has certainly played a vital role in the Lakers’ success this season, but Cousins is in another class of big men when healthy.
However, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Thursday Cousins is “not close” to a return, and he hinted a return come playoff time remains unlikely:
Frank Vogel said today that DeMarcus Cousins is "not close" to return, and acknowledged a playoff return would be difficult: "It’s a big challenge. It’s not ideal. That’s why we’re keeping expectations tempered. Not ruling it out."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 20, 2020
This should not come as too much of a surprise, though Vogel recently claimed a playoff return was possible. Cousins is barely six months removed from an injury that can take up to 12 months — if not longer — to fully heal. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr used that timeline as a reason for suggesting Klay Thompson would not return, a notion that has since been cinched due to Golden State’s poor season.
Granted, the Lakers are in a far different position. They sit at the top of the Western Conference coming out of the All-Star break and are one of the leading contenders to win the NBA title. Cousins could solidify the frontcourt with his return and make the Lakers nearly impossible to guard.
But it does not seem wise to rush the recovery process.
Cousins has dealt with myriad injuries in the past few years, including a torn Achilles in January 2018. It might be killing him to sit on the bench night after night, but it is most likely the best move for his career.
Who knows, maybe the outlook will change in the next few months.