New Orleans Pelicans DeMarcus Cousins Injury Discussion

ESPN’s Friday night feature had New Orleans playing against the Houston Rockets. All-Star Mercurial-talent New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins suffered a torn left achilles going up for a rebound on his missed free throw.



In watching the replay multiple times over and over you knew it was bad. There wasn’t a rolled ankle. He immediately went down and I just thought it’s an achilles injury.


Achilles tendon ruptures usually occur due to a sudden increase in tension stress on the Achilles in a brief period of time. And when the load exceeds what the achilles can withstand, it ruptures.

It’s safe to say he is out for the remainder of the NBA 2017-2018 Season. I’ll discuss outcomes and what his prospects are for the 2018-2019 NBA Season in a bit.


Anatomy Review:


The Achilles is thick fibrous band that connects your two primary posterior lower leg muscles to the calcaneus. It’s a blend of the gastrocnemius and the soleus (your calf muscles). The Achilles tendon crosses the ankle joint on the posterior side and it’s a powerful plantarflexor. It allows you to push off the ground when you walk, run, or jump.

There is a non-surgical route that he could take but it would depend on the if the Achilles is a partial tear or a complete tear. But he does have a complete tear as confirmed by ESPN.



What I Could Do:

Should I just adjust his ankle? Just kidding. He’s going to be in a boot for a considerable amount of time following surgery. He’ll only be allowed out of his boot to do passive range of motion (primarily flexion and extension and along with inversion and eversion).

I can help with range of motion and in the early stages of rehabilitation with the manual work. The tissue whether it be the achilles itself or the muscles will have developed restrictions via scar tissue or from being immobilized and we want to assist in development of fiber healing. We can do manual via Active Release Technique or Graston.


Early stage rehabilitation may have a lot of passive stretching, balance work, and potentially non-weight-bearing lower leg activation work (such as seated calf raises). Reeducation of walking could come into play here.

Mid stage rehabilitation may consist of balance walking (such as heel to toe), isometric muscle contractions with dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion, progressed to active weight-bearing exercises such as calf raises. Potentially you can introduce jogging.

Late stage rehabilitation may eccentric lower leg training, resisted balance work, and introducing single leg training. In late stage rehabilitation training in the multiple planes of movement will be important and not just forward-backward, but side-to-side, and rotationally.

Eventually he’ll need to actually progress to general physical preparation and then basketball-specific exercises.


My Take:

Standard procedures says he’ll miss about six months before returning to normal daily activities. If it’s six months from now he’s looking at August. I think he’ll be “technically” cleared for the start of NBA Preseason, in October. But I don’t believe he’ll play at all during preseason. I think for him he’ll miss closer to 10 months, and ESPN reported the range is 6-10 months. He’ll miss part of the 2018-2019 season as he continues to acclimate to basketball activities and the speed of the NBA game. And as many know, there’s a considerable change in intensity as the season moves along. The NBA season doesn’t start until Christmas, hits a snag until All-Star break and then ramps back up in April and May.


It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start the season on the bench and practice throughout the first few months with the team before he returns to full fledged NBA games and even then he will be on a minutes restrictions as he gains confidence. My final take is that he won’t play a game until the early part of 2019, most likely after Christmas. And by the way, he’ll still get a max contract. Go play with LeBron!! Actually don’t, there’s too much drama, ask Kevin Love. or Kyrie.



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