The news DeMarcusCousins had suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon late in the fourth quarter of a game Friday night drew message after message from players across the NBA expressing well wishes.
The big man of the New Orleans Pelicans suffered the devastating injury in an emotional win over the Houston Rockets.
That it occurred at the end of the fourth quarter isn’t a total surprise. According to a 2015 study by Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com, a site specializing in sports injuries, 64 percent of in-game ruptures in the NBA since 2005 happened in the second half of games. That finding follows this report: fatigue or overuse contributes to Achilles tendinitis and ruptures, according to the Cleveland Clinic and other studies.
Haberstroh writes Cousins was pushing the envelope, even for a durable big man such as himself.
"Cousins was coming off the best stretch of his career, but looking at his minutes totals, it was also perhaps the most taxing. On Monday’s phenomenal 44-point, 23-rebound, 10-assist performance in the double-overtime win over the Chicago Bulls, the 6’11”, 270-pound center played a career-high 52 minutes. No player on either team played more than 47 minutes. Cousins tied for the highest total that any player has clocked in a game this season (along with RussellWestbrook and BenSimmons)."
A point which Haberstroh emphasized by looking at the minutes logged and games played in January.
"In sum, January was Cousins’ most taxing month of his career (in months with at least five games played) — he registered a career-high 38.3 minutes per game. Friday’s game was Cousins’ fourth in seven days."
Haberstroh points out the effect the rugged pace of play in today's game has on bigger, heavier players such as the 6-foot-11, 270-pound Cousins makes us appreciate them even more.
"What gets lost in the injury discussion is an appreciation of today’s high-octane pace of play and its effect on larger, heavier athletes like Cousins. The 27-year-old was in the midst of one of the most all-around dominant seasons in recent NBA history. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. But he’s also leading the Pelicans in 3-point makes and steals.
"Only three other players have averaged at least 25 points, 12 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in a season, per Basketball Reference: DavidRobinson, KareemAbdul-Jabbar and HakeemOlajuwon."