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Elton Brand has been down the difficult, sometimes-bumpy road DeMarcus Cousins is traveling these days, but believes the Cousins will have a much better journey.
Cousins, the All-Star big man who agreed to sign a one-year, $5.3 million deal with two-time defending champion Golden State last week, is still rehabilitating a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in January.
Brand, like Cousins, was an All-Star big man who excelled at the pick-and-pop player when he tore an Achilles in his late 20s in 2007.
After coming back from the injury, Brand was a solid veteran contributor, but not the player he was before the injury.
Brand, now a player development consultant with the Philadelphia 76ers, told Ethan Strauss of The Athletic he believes Cousins will be a much better player when he returns than he was.
So what went wrong with your Achilles surgery, Elton? “I got a cadaver in mine. And the cadaver didn’t have any hops.” https://t.co/5lC9SwxOhS
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) July 9, 2018
“When I had mine, it was 10 years ago. I think with today’s technology, with the modalities that they have, it’s different,” Brand told Strauss. “My opinion? He’ll be better than that. I feel like he’s going to be great.”
Advances in medicine and sports science will play a big part in that, Brand believes.
“Things move fast. Technology moves fast, modalities move fast, there’s all types of different treatments,” he said.
Brand was the first overall pick out of Duke in the 1999 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls and was named Rookie of the Year. He played 17 seasons in the NBA, averaging 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds in 1,058 games with the Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia.
He once told Amin Elhassan of ESPN, “That Achilles’ really changed the trajectory of my career. That whole kinetic chain: once you get the calf, it’s the ankle, the knee, the hips, the back. No one’s really recovered from that Achilles’ injury and come back at the same level.
“That was really frustrating because I wanted to give Philly more. We made it to the playoffs. I did OK. I had a few serviceable seasons, but I wasn’t the same guy. I still had the atrophy on my left calf — which was my power leg — from that Achilles’.”
Brand said it’s a different era, now.
“People go, ‘Oh, Elton Brand said, “No one’s ever the same.” But that doesn’t count Cousins.’”
Brand took it a step further.
“I think he’s going to destroy the league once he comes back,” he said.
He then told Strauss perhaps the best quote in the report.
“I got a cadaver in mine,” he said. “And the cadaver didn’t have any hops. So that’s what hurt me.”