warm loud reception on draft night to his missing virtually the entire first half of the season with a back injury, Danilo Gallinari's rookie season has been fraught with disappointment. He hasn't looked half bad in the 28 games he's actually played, but unfortunately the Knicks revealed today that his season is likely over.
From the team's official statement: "Because Danilo has said his back is only 60 to 70 percent and thinks he has reached a plateau in his recovery, the team is reconsidering all treatment options, including surgery. Yesterday he saw a fourth surgeon in New York. Danilo has decided to travel to Italy to get additional opinions from Italian back specialists."
We always knew surgery might be an option -- if you recall, he was considering that course of action as far back as November -- but it's understandable why the team hoped simple rest might do the trick. From Newsday's Alan Hahn:
From what I've understood over the past few weeks, they didn't want to shut down Gallo because they had hopes he would emerge into a key piece for the playoff push. But the back just never got better and, though he physically has been able to handle the pounding, he simply was unable to do all the things he could do.
Gallinari admitted he had trouble sleeping because of the back stiffness and he would show up hours before gametime for a vigorous warm-up routine just to get him loose enough to play.
The Knicks certainly have a chance at making the playoffs, but it won't be easy: they entered Tuesday night as one of six teams within two and a half games of the eighth and final spot in the East (and currently trail three of them). Forcing Gallinari to play through his injury for those long odds don't make sense in the long run, especially since the "reward" will be a quick series with either the Cavs, Celtics or Magic.