Kerr says Cousins could be active for Game 1

TORONTO -- Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins is questionable for Game 1 of the NBA Finals as he continues to rehab from a torn left quad, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr left open the possibility that Cousins could be active in time for tipoff of Thursday's game against the Toronto Raptors.

"DeMarcus has done an amazing job," Kerr said Wednesday. "Coming back from the injury which we felt at the time was season ending. He's done an incredible job of rebounding, rehabbing. Now, here he is. He's scrimmaged a couple times this week. He's pain free. It is more a matter of rhythm, timing and condition. All those things. I think I mentioned if this was this the regular season, I'd throw him out there, whatever minutes he could tolerate. We'd build him up from there. It's not the regular season. It's the Finals. We have to figure out what is the best way to utilize him. How many minutes he can play. What the game feels like. Some of that will be determined by what is happening in the game. Some of the other stuff is just internal with our staff."

Kerr said "It hasn't been decided yet," if Cousins will be active, but Cousins participated in practice and was in a good mood as the Warriors got their first official workout going inside ScotiaBank Arena.

"I feel good," Cousins said. "My quad is coming along. It's healed for the most part. Still whipping things into the shape. Building the muscle endurance needed to play at a high level. Everything is coming along well."

Cousins, who tore the quad on April 15 in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Clippers, was asked if he would play if the decision were up to him.

"That's the thing," Cousins said. "It never really is up to me. We'll put our heads together and figure out our best plan moving forward."

Cousins has repeatedly praised the Warriors medical staff for the time and effort they have put in to try and get him back on the floor. He returned from a torn Achilles on Jan. 15 after missing close to a year rehabbing that injury. If he is cleared to play, his teammates know it will be 'a huge challenge' for him to produce at this level after missing so much time.

"When you talk about DeMarcus, he's someone who has been great in this league for years now," Draymond Green said. "He probably [hasn't] played basketball 16 of the 19 months. that right there alone is a challenge in itself. Then you talk playoff experience, where you and I both know the intensity level is completely different than a regular season game. He doesn't have much playoff experience. then you get dropped in the NBA finals. Kinda some like guy who grew up in the suburbs going to private school, then one day got dropped in the 'hood and was told to survive. Gotta figure that out."

Whether Cousins is cleared for Game 1 or not, he is confident that he will contribute at some point in The Finals.

"I believe this is the stage every basketball player as a kid dreams of," Cousins said. "To be here is a huge honor. Incredible feeling, I'm extremely excited about it. Makes me that much more antsy to get on the floor and help my teammates. If that opportunity is presented to me, I plan on taking advantage."

As the Warriors wait for Cousins to return, they're also hopeful that star forward Kevin Durant can make his way back at some point soon as well. Durant has been out since injuring his right calf against the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 8. Durant flew with the Warriors to Toronto but has already been ruled out of Game 1 and appears unlikely to play in Game 2. As Cousins and the rest of his teammates spoke on Wednesday, Durant got his own individual work in alongside Warriors director of sports medicine and performance, Rick Celebrini and assistant coach Bruce Fraser.

"His next step is individual court work," Kerr said. "That will be the next priority. Over the next couple of days. Hopefully, he can ramp up. We have to see him practice before he can play a game. He hasn't practiced yet."

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