DeMarcus Cousins will not play against Nuggets due to right Achilles soreness

DENVER – DeMarcus Cousins produced another big performance Tuesday vs. Denver, finishing with 30 points and 14 rebounds, but he won’t get a second chance to do likewise against the Nuggets this week. Prior to tip-off Friday at the Pepsi Center, Pelicans second-year head coach Alvin Gentry announced that Cousins will not play, due to Achilles soreness.

“It’s not worth taking a risk,” Gentry said of the decision to sit Cousins. “Especially the game tonight. We’ll see tomorrow how he feels, but more than likely, we’re not going to play him as long as he has any kind of pain there. Because obviously we wouldn’t want something bigger to happen, and when you’re dealing with an Achilles, you’re talking about something that can be very, very serious.”

Dante Cunningham will start in place of Cousins for New Orleans (33-45). E’Twaun Moore will also move back in to the starting lineup for the visitors.

Other notes from pregame in Colorado:

Pelicans rookies Quinn Cook and Cheick Diallo figure to get more extended opportunities to play over the season’s final four games.

“We’re going to take a look at the guys who haven’t been playing much,” Gentry said. …

On expectations for Diallo to close the season, Gentry said, “He’s just got to try to stick with the game plan, defensively more so than offensively, because we allow a lot of freedom offensively. He’s got to be solid defensively in guarding his man, and solid in the concept of what we’re trying to do team-wise. That’s what we’ll look for from him. With Quinn, we just want to see him run the team and be out there with some of the starters.” …

It’s possible Anthony Davis will only play in the first game of this back-to-back vs. Denver, but would sit Saturday at Golden State. “Depending on how many minutes AD plays tonight, there is a possibility I won’t play him at all tomorrow,” Gentry said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.” …

Asked about how the Nuggets prepared for Friday’s game while not knowing the status of Cousins, Michael Malone noted that Denver was routed by a Cousins-less New Orleans, but just beat the Pelicans three days ago with Cousins putting up huge numbers. “It comes down to being ready to play, no matter who’s available for the other team,” Malone said. …

Wilson Chandler experienced a migraine headache today, but Malone said the versatile forward is expected to play. Jameer Nelson and Will Barton were ruled out by Denver earlier in the day due to injuries.

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