During All-Star weekend, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel gave a promising update on DeMarcus Cousins’ injury status. Though it’s questionable if he can regain his superstar form, there’s still excitement around his potential with this team. Vogel’s comments suggested that he could be back in time for the playoffs, but the coach recently threw some cold water on the excitement.
“There is no date,” Vogel said Thursday, per Melissia Rohlin of Sports Illustrated. “And there’s really no specifics on it in terms of I’m not even sure where he’s at with exactly what he’s doing day to day. I just still know he’s a long way away. But they’ve said they’re not ruling out him returning. That’s really all I can give you.”
He sounded a bit more confident in a Cousins return before, but there’s definitely some doubt. The big man recently spoke about how he came back from injury too early last season and he’s going to want to avoid doing that again. The Lakers are going to take the wait and see approach with Cousins. As Vogel pointed out, Cousins isn’t ruled out quite yet. It could be some time before they make a final decision on his status.
Cousins Being out Is a ‘Challenge’
If Cousins can come back this season, his ceiling is as high as anybody on the team. There was a time when he looked like a future Hall of Famer. That’s why the Lakers continue to hold out hope for his return.
“It’s a big challenge,” Vogel said. “It’s not ideal. That’s why we’re keeping expectations tempered. Not ruling it out. But obviously to come out, to come back from basically a long stint of being out and in rehab like he’s been, for your first action to be in a playoff atmosphere, or near-playoff atmosphere, that’s not the ideal situation. But it is something that he’s encountered before at Golden State. It’s something that we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
It certainly wouldn’t be ideal for the Lakers to throw Cousins to the fire when the playoffs get here, but if he’s healthy, there’s no reason to keep him out. It definitely puts Los Angeles in a weird spot, but they made need him if they’re going to beat the Clippers.
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LeBron Is Holding out Hope
LeBron James has been a big fan of Cousins for a long time and it’s probably disappointing that he has yet to get the chance to play with him. That said, James has been seeing the progress made by the big man.
“He’s progressed every single day, every single month,” James said. “To the point where he was limping and now he’s actually shooting and actually jumping on the jump shots, and progressing every single day, every single week. He’s out there right now, getting his work done. We want to continue to stay optimistic about his health.”
A trio of Cousins, James and Anthony Davis would have been considered one of the best in the NBA just a few years ago. If “Boogie” can get healthy and turn back the clock, the Lakers could be scary.