• DeMarcus Cousins not close to a return
  • Cousins recalled his first NBA Finals
  • Cousins continues to be bugged by injuries

A previous report mentioned Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins could make his debut in purple and gold soon. That does not appear to be true anymore as Frank Vogel said Thursday that the former All-Star is not close to a return from his ACL injury.

The Lakers head coach spoke with reporters after practice and negated his earlier statement that Cousins was right on target to join his active roster for the Playoffs.

Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group posted Vogel’s announcement and said the Lakers’ head tactician “acknowledged a playoff return would be difficult.”

“It’s a big challenge. It’s not ideal. That’s why we’re keeping expectations tempered. Not ruling it out," Vogel said as quoted by Goon.

Cousins suffered a torn ACL during a pick-up game in August, just a month after he agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers. The injury forced the team to sign Dwight Howard who continues to thrive with his role as a back-up center while solidifying Vogel’s frontcourt rotation that also has Anthony Davis and Javale McGee.

Injuries have decimated Cousins who was just about to hit his prime years as a basketball player. In fact, he was in the midst of his fourth All-Star season when he ruptured his Achilles in 2018 while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. It was a downward spiral since health-wise for the former Kentucky standout, who still struggles to get back to his old form.

The 29-year-old big man played in his first NBA Finals last season with the Golden State Warriors who lost to the Toronto Raptors in six games to concede the title. He was able to provide quality minutes to the team which was ultimately undermanned due to the devastating injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. While it was the most ideal chance for Cousins to step-up, however, it was evident that he was not at 100 percent as was he rushed to return – with the Warriors left with no other choice - from a quad injury he suffered during the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"I was terrible in the Finals. One-leg bandit on the floor," Cousins said when he appeared in Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s podcast All The Smoke. "But I wanted to be a part of it. In the Finals, you play hurt. That's when you lay your body on the line. I went out there and I gave it what I had. I helped in spots. But I wasn't supposed to be on the floor."

DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins suffered a foot injury during the Warriors' win over Thunder on Saturday. In this picture, Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 25, 2019. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images