By JANIE McCAULEY
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins has a torn left quadriceps muscle that will sideline the Golden State center indefinitely, a devastating injury that the Warriors feared was serious when he went down in the first quarter of their first-round playoff loss to the Clippers.
An MRI exam Tuesday morning on Cousins’ left leg revealed the tear. The two-time defending NBA champion Warriors said Cousins will begin rehabilitation immediately and updates will be “provided as appropriate.”
Coach Steve Kerr said after the Warriors’ 135-131 Game 2 loss on Monday night that Cousins would be out for a significant period.
Playing in just his second career postseason game after a nine-year wait, Cousins went down in the first quarter in front of the Golden State bench after swiping a ball from Patrick Beverley in the back court. He immediately grabbed at his left quad. Cousins hobbled to the locker room at the 8:09 mark.
Cousins had just returned in January from a nearly yearlong absence following surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon suffered while with the Pelicans last season.
He had two points, two rebounds and an assist in less than 4 minutes Monday. He fouled out of Saturday’s 121-104 Game 1 win with nine points, nine rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes.
“I know it’s frustrating for him. I’ve been through something like that, getting hurt, getting all the way back and then getting hurt again, so I know how frustrating it is,” Warriors center Kevon Looney said. “He is a resilient guy. He’s been through adversity before and I know he’s going to bounce back. His spirit is probably low right now, but he’s a tough guy and he’ll be back better than ever.”
Looney picked up more minutes with Cousins’ injury and scored a career-high 19 points while making all six of his shots in 19 minutes. Kerr is likely to use a combination of shot-blocking presence Andrew Bogut and Looney going forward this postseason.
Bogut’s signing last month for a second stint with the franchise means so much more now. Kerr called him an “insurance policy” and Bogut — who had been playing back home in Australia — has made the most of his chances. He had nine rebounds, three points and a blocked shot in 16 minutes Monday.
He played on the Warriors’ 2015 championship team and the 73-win team the following season that lost in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005 out of Utah, Bogut has been open to any role Kerr chooses for him, which now could be starting.
“Obviously, there will be more minutes,” he said after the game. “It’ll still be matchup dependent, but I anticipate probably starting games, playing the first three or four minutes and then coming out.”
Stephen Curry expects the backups to fill the void as the Warriors’ depth has done all season, with Jordan Bell also likely to be in the mix.
“Exactly what they’ve been doing. They’ve been playing amazing the last part of the regular season and these first two games,” Curry said. ”… It may look a little different considering the skill and talent and level that Boogie can bring when he’s healthy.”