Danilo Gallinari tore his left ACL in early-September while playing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifier. It's expected that Gallinari will miss the entirety of his first season with the Boston Celtics. However, the veteran forward isn't giving up on playing this season.
“My mind-set is that I want to play, and that I’m going to play at the end of the season,” Gallinari said. “I want to play in the playoffs. So that’s the mind-set that helps me every day get better and motivates me even more.”
Returns from ACL tears generally take up to one year. Danny Green is going to return to the Memphis Grizzlies in about eight months, while Joe Ingles of the Milwaukee Bucks returned in about 11 months. As an older player, Gallinari could push to be back earlier, as he doesn't have a remaining 10-plus years of his career to protect.
In recent weeks, Gallinari has done his rehab around the Celtics, even traveling for road games. The possibility of getting on the court with them before the season ends is helping to keep him motivated during rehab.
“My mind-set is there is definitely a chance,” Gallinari said. “So, when I think about the season, it’s definitely not a lost season for me. So, we’ll see. That’s the mind-set that helps me and pushes me to get better every day. If it happens, it’s going to be great. If it doesn’t, I’m looking forward to next season.”