DeMarcus Cousins talks Sacramento Kings return from lengthy injury layoff

DeMarcus Cousins finishes above the rim against the Chicago Bulls. (Photo: Kimani David)
After missing the last six games due to injury, DeMarcus Cousins picked up right where he left off in his return.  Cousins recorded his 29th double-double of the season (25 points and 16 rebounds) in a blowout victory over the Chicago Bulls yesterday evening.

The Kings starting center, who had been sidelined for the last week and a half with a sprained left ankle, admitted after the game that he still felt  lingering effects from the injury.  However, it obviously didn’t hinder his performance for the Kings, who were 0-6 in the games that their starting center missed.

“It was great to have DeMarcus Cousins back,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said after Monday’s victory. “He was terrific scoring in the post, getting to the foul line, and playing defense.”

Below, some postgame notes and quotes from Cousins on how he felt about his comeback after last night’s win over the Bulls.

  • Cousins on how his body felt after the game: “My body is pretty banged up but it’s kind of expected, I missed a few games. I feel good just to be back on the court.”
  • Cousins came out of the blocks sprinting, scoring 11 of his 25 points and grabbing seven of his 16 rebounds in the first quarter.  However, his production in that opening period wasn’t indicative of how his body was feeling in his first game back since Jan. 22.  “Honestly, I was about to pass out at the first quarter,” Cousins said. “I was so anxious to play. I’ve been bouncing off the walls anyway because I’m so full of energy. I haven’t done anything so it felt good (to be back), but honestly I was about to pass out like those first three minutes. But it felt good to be out there.”
  • Cousins was asked how close he was to coming back the past couple games before officially returning on Monday.  The 23-year-old center was frank with his answer, stating that he probably  should have sat out another game.  “To be honest, I shouldn’t have been playing tonight,” Cousins said. “But I’m not the type of guy to let like a little nagging injury hold me back. So once I got it to the point where I could play through the pain, go through the pain and stiffness in my ankle, I was ready to go.”
  • Cousins feels that he’s about 70-75 percent healthy at this point.  “Like I said, I got through the pain,” he said. “I got through the stiffness. There’s still some light swelling in it. There’s gonna be some swelling in it after this game as well. But I got through the hard part, so now it’s just building the strength up in my ankle.”
  • The six straight games Cousins missed were the most consecutive games he’s ever missed in his four-year career.  He admits that it was a challenge to watch his team from the sidelines for longer than he liked.  “Especially when it’s a game going down to the wire,” Cousins said.  “They had some losses – four point losses, those are some tough losses. And you know that you can help the team out that night. It’s tough to deal with but I mean they fought, they stayed together. I think they did a good job. It didn’t result in wins, but I thought they grew as a group.”  He also said that he gained a different perspective on the game while watching from the bench.
  • Although he was playing hurt, Cousins was not surprised at all to have the performance he had last night.  The Kings starting center managed to produce his 16th double-double in his last 17 games in just 33 minutes of action.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.