The veteran forward Danilo Gallinari, who was playing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualification game, sustained what was initially believed to be a torn meniscus in his left knee, so the Boston Celtics were already aware that it was possible they could have to start the season without him. The Celtics revealed that Gallinari’s left knee has an ACL tear following additional testing, though.
“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 release date for Gallinari’s return, but an ACL tear normally takes a year to heal. Gallinari tore his anterior cruciate ligament in this same knee in 2013, forcing him to miss the whole 2013–2014 season.
— DANILO GALLINARI (@gallinari8888) September 2, 2022
Gallinari sustained the injury on August 27 while competing for Italy against Georgia in a FIBA World Cup qualification match. On a fastbreak opportunity, Gallinari got the ball as a trailer and appeared to come down awkwardly after elevating to attempt a pass. He eventually was escorted back to the locker room after stumbling over to the sideline and gripping the back of his left knee.
“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.” According to reports, Gallinari is committed to making a comeback at some point in the 2022–23 campaign. As a free agent in July, Gallinari agreed to a two-year, $13.2 million deal with the Celtics. A player option for the second season is part of the agreement.
The Celtics will be able to apply for a designated player exception, which will offer Boston $3.2 million to either sign, trade for, or claim a player on an expiring contract for up to that amount, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN, in order to replace Gallinari. In 66 games for the Hawks last year, Gallinari averaged 11.7 points and shot 38.1% from outside the arc.