Updated at 6:37 pm
DeMarcus Cousins will return to action for the Sacramento Kings tonight against the Chicago Bulls. The 23-year old center injured his left ankle during the Kings’ 119-98 loss to the Houston Rockets on Jan. 22. He has missed the last six games with an ankle sprain and Sacramento hasn’t won without him.
“He’s going to try and play like the old DeMarcus, but it’s not going to happen right away I don’t think,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said before tonight’s game. “I imagine he may get a little fatigued right away as well. We’ll monitor that. If we have to get him out quickly, give him a quick breather, we will.”
Cousins is averaging 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.2 blocks in 32 minutes per game. Despite his breakout season, Cousins was left off the 2014 NBA All-Star team when reserves were announced last Thursday. He has an outside shot of making the roster when injury replacements are announced in the next week.
“I’m going into the game realizing that he’s been out for 10 days,” Malone said of whether Cousins will have his minutes limited tonight. “This is our ninth game in 14 days, so we haven’t had a ton of practice time. (We’ve had) a ton of back-to-backs recently, so he hasn’t been able to practice a whole lot. I will monitor how he’s moving, how his wind is, how he’s playing.”
Jimmer Fredette is also available for coach Michael Malone after missing Saturday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with a stomach ailment.