SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — The long hours in the gym, rehabilitating his surgically repaired Achilles back into NBA playing shape, is beginning to pay off for Golden State Warriors All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.

He’s still not sure when he will don the Warriors jersey for the first time, but he knows that time will come very soon.

“I’m in a good place,” said Cousins after completing a workout with Golden State’s G League squad. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m taking it day by day, making sure I’m getting a much as I can out of each day.”

Cousins tore his Achilles last season as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. In the offseason, when New Orleans allowed him to be an unsigned free agent, he stunned the NBA world by signing a one-year deal with the defending two-time champion Warriors.

Once he’s healthy, he will join All-Stars Draymond Green, Steph Curry, Klay Thpmpson and Kevin Durant to form one of the most formidable starting fives in NBA history.

For now, Cousins has been a regular fixure on the Warriors bench dressed in street clothes, encouraging his new teammates who have rolled to a 19-9 record heading into Wednesday’s game against NBA East leader Toronto.

Recently, Cousins’ rehab has reached a point where he has begun practicing with the G League squad in game situations. It’s also given him time to hang out with his brother, Jaleel, who is on the Warriors G League roster.

“It’s been cool,” Cousins said of hanging out with his brother. “It’s not every day I get to come to work with my brother. It’s good to see him out there, growing, working as a player. He’s mature so much over the years, but I’ll always view him as my baby brother.”

The elder Cousins says the pace of rehab and conditioning has been noticeable this week.

“It’s all coming back to me slowly but surely, but I feel good,” he said. “My legs are heavy but its been a high intensity week for me. A lot of cardio, legs are a little fatigued. I’m just trying to whip back into shape… It (Wednesday) has been another productive day for me.”

Cousins believes his conditioning is improving every day.

“I feel better today than I did two weeks ago,” he said.

When asked when he thinks he may be joining the team, Cousins said: “I’m just taking it day by day. Each day tells me what leads to the next.”