Cousins not ready to return, but takes part in scrimmage
OAKLAND » Injured Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins participated in a full scrimmage after practice Thursday afternoon. The scrimmage, which featured Damian Jones, Kevon Looney, Quinn Cook and a number of assistant coaches, was the latest positive sign in Cousins’ rehab from a torn Achilles tendon.
Last week, the Warriors announced that the All-Star big man would ramp up activities. During the team’s stay in New York last week, Cousins participated in a four- on-four scrimmage under similar conditions. Still, coach Steve Kerr remains cautious on Cousins’ return.
“I love how far he’s come,” Kerr said. “But I don’t want people to get the idea that he’s close to coming back. It’s going to take some time. Totally different feel playing in an NBA game and playing against ( Warriors assistant coaches) Willie (Green), Chris DeMarco and Nick (Kerr).
When Cousins does return, Kerr says he’s intrigued by the center’s skill set and fit in the team’s offense.
“I love the fact that he can pick and pop, and shoot the 3 — also a great passer fromthe perimeter,” Kerr said. “I’mnot going to just send him in the post every time when he gets back. I’m going to play him on his spots on the floor.”
Cousins, who signed a one-year $5.3 million deal this summer, is expected to have a host of suitors in free agency this offseason if he can show he can play at a high level. The Warriors will not be one of those teams, considering they won’t have the cap space to re-sign him. On Thursday, Kerr seemed fine with that reality.
“We made no bones about it when we signed him,” Kerr said. “This is a one-year deal, and we’re not going to have money to sign him next year, so we’d like to help him win a championship and sign a great contract somewhere else. That’s the reality. The best way to do that — play really well and enjoy this season.”
• A day after Minnesota’s Derrick Rose scored careerhigh 50 points, Kerr and Warriors guard Stephen Curry raved about Rose’s night.
“It was amazing, I was so happy for him,” Kerr said. “I think like the rest of the league, what he’s been through and to see the emotion at the end of the game. It’s fantastic, I think everybody felt great for him.”
Since entering the league, Rose’s career has been a roller coaster. In 2011, he was the league’s MVP, becoming the youngest player ever to win the award. But knee injuries derailed his career, as he bounced around the league with New York and Cleveland before landing in Minnesota last season.
Rose had troubles off the court, too. In 2015, he was accused of gang-raping a woman in Los Angeles. While Rose and the two other accused men were found not liable in a civil trial, an appeal will be heard on the verdict later this month.
On the court, Rose’s performance Wednesday night drew praise from around the league, including from the Warriors.
“It was an amazing night,” Curry said. “Amazing story, in terms of what he’s been through. It’s great for him. A comeback story, and we obviously knew what he was capable of before the injuries. I know people that have been around him from then and talked about how hard he works and obviously you don’t become an MVP by not working hard but that has carried him through the roller- coaster ride he’s been on.”
“It’s because so many people wrote him off be- cause of injuries,” Kevin Durant told ESPN on Wednesday night. “So many people just stopped caring about what he can do on a basketball court because he had a few injuries and walked away from the team because he needed to get himself together. A lot of people had a lot of jokes about D-Rose, and obviously, he’s making them eat those words right now. So I’m happy about that.”
• Shaun Livingston, who has missed the Warriors’ past four games, is doubtful for today’s matchup against the Timberwolves because of a foot injury.
Before Wednesday’s game against New Orleans, Kerr said Livingston’s MRI came back clear, but it remains unclear when the 33-year- old will return to the lineup.
“It’s kind of game- bygame,” Kerr said. “He had an MRI, and it was clear and everything was fine, but we are going to be very careful with Shaun. I think the protocol with him and with Andre [Iguodala] will be very similar to last year. We want both guys to be fresh and ready to roll for the playoffs. Wewill be very careful throughout the regular season, so if there is anything nagging, with either one of them, we will keep them on the bench.”
Livingston is averaging 5.5 points and3.5 rebounds a game this season.
Injured Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins has ramped up his practice activity with the team recently.