Lakers' center DeMarcus Cousins has put in the work in rehab - from a torn Achilles then a torn quad - pushing to get back to his peak form, to get back to the top of the game. And to get that big contract offer again.
Which is why the news he has torn his ACL felt like a punch to the gut on Thursday. Both to Lakers and just basketball fans in general.
"He was going to be a big part of what we're going to do…" Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma said after USA Basketball practice Thursday. "It's no joke when you get injured, this is our livelihood, something we love to do. It's super unfortunate for a guy like DeMarcus who loves basketball, who through all his injuries fought back to get through."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who had Cousins on his team last year, said he was "devastated" when he heard the news.
"Injuries are a part of the game but you are talking about a player who has now dealt with the two most feared injuries for NBA players - the Achilles and ACL - each knocking you out for an entire season…" Kerr said. "It's unheard of."
Stunned NBA players went on social media to express their combination of sadness and support for Boogie.