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Danilo Gallinari has yet to have reconstructive surgery, could be out until midseason

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Danilo Gallinari, in the minutes following his ACL and meniscus tear (Getty Images)

When a team’s star goes down with a season-altering injury, the best thing a fan can do is immediately write him off. Move on to start counting the days until the comeback, mindful that the next day following the unfortunate incident will be the first day of that player’s rehabilitation.

That only works if the player is well enough to undergo the first step towards rehabilitation – a major surgery. And Denver Nugget forward Danilo Gallinari, who tore his ACL on April 4, still has yet to undergo surgery to repair the torn ligament. Even Derrick Rose, a player that has attempted to return from the same malady on his own timetable, underwent his surgery two and a half weeks after his tear from over a year ago.

The Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman discussed as much on Thursday:

While Gallinari underwent surgery on his meniscus four weeks ago, he had a slight delay and won't have surgery on his torn anterior cruciate ligament for another two weeks, he said during a talk show on 102.3 ESPN.

Hochman also reported that Gallinari possibly won’t return until February of 2014, as opposed to the New Year’s Day schedule initially suggested by the Nuggets after they learned of Danilo’s April diagnosis.

Gallinari is not an All-Star, much less a franchise player like Rose is, but this news will still send the Nuggets into all manner of conniptions. The team is currently awaiting word from general manager Masai Ujiri as to whether he wants to remain with the Nuggets, or take on a job with the Toronto Raptors. The Nuggets, weirdly, want the 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year to remain on a salary that the team wouldn’t think twice about paying to a second round pick, while the Raptors reportedly want to pay Ujiri what the Nuggets perceive to be the outrageous sum of about half of what the NBA’s average player contract provides.

Kind of weird, considering that a GM runs the whole damn team.

As a result of this potential move, the Nuggets’ team is a whole damn mess. George Karl could potentially be courted by the Los Angeles Clippers for their open head coaching spot. Andre Iguodala could turn down the final year of his contract in Denver to head into what will be a seller’s market in free agency this summer, and playing half a season without Gallinari will likely force the Nuggets into the lower rungs of the Western playoff bracket in 2013-14, bad news for a team that so desperately relies on home court advantage to make hay against teams featuring go-to superstars.

This isn’t a case of Gallinari taking it easy, either. Sometimes swelling or other medical complications get in the way of a proper reconstructive surgery, and while a two month wait isn’t typical, the team’s medical staff has to be careful with the future of a player making more than $32 million over the next three years. If the staff saw something it didn’t like while repairing the torn meniscus, then you know the wait is preferable to rushing things just to grab 12 more games of Danilo Gallinari midway through the 2013-14 season. Especially when meniscus tears, when rushed back from, sometimes lead to microfracture surgery.

This was always going to be a compelling offseason for the Denver Nuggets. Nobody knew it was going to be this destructive, though.

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