Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins could return sooner than expected.
The 28-year-old, who signed a one-year, $5.3million deal with the Warriors this offseason, continues to rehab from a torn Achilles he suffered in late January.
He discussed his recovery process with reporters at Golden State's media day on Monday.
"I'm feeling a lot better than I was seven months ago," Cousins said (via ESPN). "You know, it's been a grind. It's been an adventure to say the least. But I'm in a lot better place now. Physically I'm coming along great. As of right now, hasn't been any setbacks, and I feel a lot stronger. I'm getting my feet back under me, and I'm starting to feel like an athlete again."
Cousins averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in 48 games for the New Orleans Pelicans last season before he was injured.
He said his "drive has only increased" since he last suited up for a game.
"I think you guys will see a new DeMarcus on the floor," Cousins said. "I can't wait to get to that point just to show all the work I have put in, into this injury. I think you'll see it when the product is on the floor."
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Cousins is "on schedule" with his recovery and will play when he is healthy.
"I know there's a narrative that we'll save DeMarcus for the playoffs. That's inaccurate," Myers said. "When he can play, he'll play. We won't rush him, but we also won't hold him back. We need time for him to acclimate; we need to acclimate for him. But it's an exciting thing for our whole team to look forward to."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Tuesday the team are "taking it slowly" with Cousins.
"I don't think it'll be too long before he's taking part in practice," Kerr said, (via The Athletic).
The Warriors open the preseason against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.