WASHINGTON: New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins, set for a starting appearance in the NBA All-Star Game next month, will instead miss the remainder of the season, the club announced on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Cousins will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon suffered when he was going for a rebound late in the Pelicans’ 115-113 victory over Houston on Friday.
An MRI exam confirmed the extent of the injury and the need for surgery for the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist, whose spot on the LeBron James All-Star roster will be taken by Oklahoma City’s Paul George.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver named George to the LeBron lineup to challenge Stephen Curry’s squad in next month’s All-Star contest, but it will be James who decides which player replaces Cousins as a starter.
Paired with fellow big man Anthony Davis, Cousins had helped push the Pelicans toward their first playoff appearance since 2015 and what would have been the first post-season trip of his eight-season NBA career, six of those campaigns with Sacramento.
Cousins is averaging 25.2 points and 1.6 blocked shots a game as well as career highs of 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists a game.
He ranked third in the league in rebounds and eighth in scoring.
Also announcing a season-ending surgery on Saturday were the Memphis Grizzlies, who declared the campaign over for guard Mike Conley.
Conley, who had been sidelined since November, will undergo surgery to smooth a small bone protrusion in his left heel that continues to cause pain. He is expected to recover in time for the 20-18-19 season.
The 30-year-old son of 1992 Olympic triple jump champion Mike Conley Snr has played 11 NBA seasons, all for the Grizzlies.
In 12 games this season, Conley averaged 17.1 points, 4.1 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game.