SACRAMENTO -- Things are looking up for the Sacramento Kings. When the screen lifted at Tuesday’s practice, All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins was there in the flesh, dribbling, shooting and working up a sweat. While the team has listed him as questionable, Cousins looked like a player ready to return to the court.
Cousins missed Monday’s game with a left ankle sprain that he suffered in Saturday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Initially the injury looked bad. Cousins was helped off the court in the late fourth quarter as the Kings lost their fourth straight.
The Kings pulled out a win over the Bucks on Monday night without the services of Cousins. It marked the second time in nine chances that they had accomplished that feat.
Cousins was able to make it through a light practice with his team and then stuck around to take some shots. Once he was finished shooting, he joined Seth Curry, Duje Dukan, James Anderson and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein for a revolving game of one-on-one.
The big man moved unencumbered as he took his teammates off the dribble or pulled up for jumpers.
Following practice, George Karl said he hoped that Cousins would suit up against the Bulls on Wednesday night. It will require him to make some dramatic switches to the offensive scheme, but it would be a welcome sighting.
Cousins is having a career-year, while leading the Kings in both points and rebounds. On the season, he is averaging 27 points and 11.3 rebounds and he is fresh off an invitation to his second consecutive All-Star game.
In the event that Cousins can’t play, Karl will have to adjust accordingly. Chicago starts Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson on the frontline, which would likely call for veteran Kosta Koufos to pick up his second-straight start alongside Cauley-Stein.
Third-year guard Ben McLemore missed his first career game on Monday night and if Tuesday’s practice was any indication, he will miss game No. 2 against the Bulls on Wednesday. McLemore did not participate in practice due to a sprained right wrist. Instead he received treatment from the Kings training staff.
The 22-year-old wing came out on the floor to work on his conditioning and even put up a few shots, but that’s a far cry from being ready to slow down the Bulls Jimmy Butler. Like Cousins, McLemore is listed as questionable and he is day-to-day moving forward.
Rajon Rondo was a late add to the injury report. The veteran point guard is also questionable due to turf toe. He was out on the practice floor shooting 3-pointers when we last saw him.
The four-time All-Star leads the NBA in assists per game at 11.7 per game. He is coming off a night where he knocked down all four of his 3-point attempts on his way to 19 points. If he can’t go, Darren Collison will start in his place.