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Sources: Likely ACL tear may sideline Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari for season

After crumbling to the court and needing to be carried to the locker room, an initial examination of Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari suggested a season-ending tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night.

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Danilo Gallinari grimaces after injuring his knee. (USA Today Sports)

"The doctor indicated that the ligament was loose," one source told Yahoo! Sports. "They expect that it's a torn ACL."

Gallinari will undergo a full MRI examination on Friday to survey the complete damage to the knee. After driving on Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki in the Nuggets' 95-94 victory on Thursday night, Gallinari planted his left leg only to have his knee buckle beneath him.

The Italian writhed in pain on the floor, and needed to be carted to the locker room.

Gallinari, 24, is a vital part of the Nuggets' success, and losing him for the season clearly damages Denver's chances of making a run at the Western Conference championship. For now, the team is the No. 3 seed in the West, trailing Oklahoma City and San Antonio and holding a slim lead over the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies.

The forward is averaging 16.3 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Nuggets, who've relied on a balanced lineup in the post-Carmelo Anthony era.

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