Warriors' Steve Kerr opens up about DeMarcus Cousins' rehab, says center will start in return

Warriors coach Steve Kerr revealed Thursday that DeMarcus Cousins will start when he returns from an Achilles injury that has kept him sidelined all season, though Golden State will need to figure out the best way to use the center.

Kerr said they haven’t figured out a minutes restriction yet for the 28-year-old, and his role could change after his first game back. 

“I’ll start him,” Kerr said. “After that, everything’s on the table. We have to figure out what the rotations will look like, how many minutes he can play. We’ll have to play around with him — the minutes, the combinations, the sets. We haven’t had a player like him here before.”

The Warriors reportedly are hoping Cousins will return when the team faces the Clippers on Jan. 18. Kerr said earlier this week Cousins’ return “is closer now” after the center has “gotten through a barrier” in his recovery. 

Kerr opened up Thursday about the challenges Cousins has had to overcome, saying he has “a lot of compassion” for what the center has been through. 

“When you think about when the injury happened, he’s getting ready to sign a max or near-max contract, whether it was with New Orleans or something else,” Kerr said, via The Athletic. “A life-changing amount of money. Not to mention the gratification that comes with being one of the best players in the world, an All-Star right in his prime. That all went down the drain for him. So think about that.

“As he’s going through his rehab, he’s only human, he had to be thinking, ‘Man what happened? All of a sudden I’m in Golden State, on the mid-level for one year, watching everyone else play basketball?’ That’s not easy. So we’ve tried to help him though that. … The last couple weeks, his overall happiness just seems better. He’s in a better place.”

Cousins tore his Achilles last season in late January while playing for the Pelicans, forcing him to miss the rest of 2017-18. He averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in 48 games with New Orleans.