The Boston Celtics already knew there was a possibility they would be starting the season without veteran forward Danilo Gallinari, as he suffered what was originally thought to be a torn meniscus in his left knee while playing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game. However, after further evaluation, the Celtics announced that Gallinari has a torn ACL in his left knee.
“This has been a tough week for me as I learned the extent of my injury,” Gallinari said in a statement released on Friday. “This game means everything to me and not being able to be on the court with my Celtics teammates hurts. I plan to give everything I can to the Celtics organization and my teammates as we hunt for a title. I will work tirelessly with the Celtics staff to return to the court as soon as I can and I appreciate the unwavering support from the fans, my teammates, and the entire NBA family.”
There hasn’t been a timetable for Gallinari’s return, but the recovery time for an ACL tear is typically a year. This is the same knee that Gallinari suffered a torn ACL back in 2013, which forced him to miss the entire 2013-2014 season.
The injury occurred on Aug. 27 when Gallinari was playing with Italy’s national team against Georgia in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game. Gallinari received the ball as a trailer on a fastbreak opportunity and seemed to come down awkwardly after elevating to make a pass. He hobbled over to the sideline clutching the back of his left knee, and he was ultimately led back to the locker room. You can see the play below:
“It’s tough to talk about basketball after what we saw happen to Danilo,” Italy captain Luigi Datome said after the team’s 91-84 win over Georgia. “We wish him, of course, the best.”
Gallinari signed a new, two-year deal with the Celtics in July — a move that was lauded for adding valuable depth to a Boston team that made it all the way to the NBA Finals last season. Losing him for what could be the entire season is a significant blow for Boston, but the Celtics will be able to apply for a Disabled Player Exception for Gallinari. That will grant Boston more financial flexibility to either sign a player to a one-year deal, or trade for a player in the final year of their contract. However, the Celtics will first have to open up a roster spot to do so.