Darius Miller and Demarcus Cousins go way back. First, they were teammates under John Calipari at the University of Kentucky; later, the reconnected on the court with the New Orleans Pelicans. Now, they share a different kind of bond: both have suffered from a ruptured Achilles tendon. It’s an unfortunate club – the injury can take up to a year to fully rehab, and some athletes are simply never the same – but at least they have each other.
After averaging 8.2 points per game and shooting 36.5 percent from three during the 2018-19 season, Miller signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans last July worth $14.25 million, with $7,250,000 of that being guaranteed. Last August, the team announced Miller ruptured his right Achilles playing 3-on-3 basketball and would be out for the foreseeable future.
Cousins knows how that feels. Boogie suffered a torn Achilles in Jan. 2018, and he missed the remainder of that season. Before the injury, he was averaging 25.4 points, 13 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game for the Pelicans, who had climbed to the No. 6 seed in the West at the time of his injury.
When Miller needed someone to reach out to about the rehab process, he called up his former teammate.
“I talked to DeMarcus [Cousins] a little bit, and I reached out to a couple other guys,” Miller told the media. “It seems like every guy’s situation [dealing with the injury] was a little bit different depending on the timing of the surgery, how much [the Achilles] tore, things like that. I got a lot of mental advice, but not so much my Achilles in general.”
Cousins’ professional career has been riddled with unfortunate and untimely injuries, so he had some advice for Miller about how to keep his spirits high throughout the lengthy rehab process. What did Miller take away from Cousins’ advice?
“It was going to be a long road; it was going to be tough. That was one of the reasons I tried to stay around the team as much as possible – just to stay involved and keep my mind off of things, stay in the team atmosphere,” Miller said. “I feel like the team did a great job of helping me get through it. It was just little things like that: staying positive and attack every day as if it’s a game.”
In the same media opportunity, Miller said his status for the NBA’s return in Orlando is still uncertain.
“Right now I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Miller said. “Trying to add something new into my workouts and see how my body reacts. Like I said, it’s unfortunate I can’t play five-on-five or at least three-on-three just to get a gauge, but we’re doing the most that we can right now to see about when I’ll be able to play.”
The full transcript from Miller’s media availability is linked here.