DeMarcus Cousins plays through illness, Chuck Hayes tests shoulder
Visibly sluggish and a step slower, DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t himself yesterday evening. But after suffering food poisoning earlier this week, the Sacramento Kings big man managed to finish with a solid line – 15 points, five assists, three steals and two blocks – in Friday’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
“My energy was just low,” Cousins said following the 110-97 win over the defending champs. “I haven’t really ate much since I got over my illness. But, I’m just trying to get back in the swing of things (and) I should be better next game.”
Cousins became ill early Wednesday and missed Kings’ shootaround as a result. He was a last minute lineup scratch before the Kings won 99-98 over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to call out the restaurant,” responded Cousins when asked what caused the ordeal. “I don’t want them to lose business. But I had some food that morning and my stomach was hurting and I was throwing up.”
The Kings big man played roughly 31 minutes in last night’s win, which surprised Cousins himself.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know I played that,” said Cousins. “I thought I played about 15 minutes tonight.”
Kings head coach Keith Smart played Cousins extra minutes in anticipation of a light workload in today’s practice.
“He’s going to be depleted of fluids, but I wanted to try to push him through this game to get some conditioning back,” said Smart in his postgame press conference. “But now we’ve got to get him on some fluids because I’m sure he’s going to be depleted tomorrow. We’ve got to make sure we get him maintained because the games are getting more difficult as we keep moving on this homestretch.”
Hayes plays without protective left-shoulder sleeve
Anxious and apprehensive, Chuck Hayes stepped on the court to start the second quarter.
For the first time since January, the veteran big man played without the protective left sleeve he had been relegated to wearing after dislocating his shoulder against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I was so nervous,” said Hayes in the Kings locker room last evening. “But after I got my first couple rebounds I was fine. It was just a nervous feeling. I was happy to get it over with.”
In last night’s win over Dallas, Hayes finished with four points, five rebounds, four assists and slowed down Dirk Nowitzki, who scored only 13 points on 13 shot attempts. He said playing without the sleeve was a small adjustment.
“It was just more like…it was hanging out there to dry,” Hayes said of his sleeveless shoulder. “There was no longer a shield to protect it. But I was willing to throw it around, try to tussle with some guys out there in the paint and it held up fine.”
The Kings big man revealed he suffers from soreness after every game and expects lingering discomfort to continue the remainder of the year. But, he’s hopeful that rest and recovery after the season will get his shoulder back to normal.
“Once the offseason comes, then next year, it’ll be better,” Hayes said with a grin. “It’ll be at fully 100 percent.”