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Gallinari Optimistic As He Prepares For His Return

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Danilo Gallinari talks with CBS4's Vic Lombardi on Feb. 27. (credit: CBS)

Danilo Gallinari talks with CBS4’s Vic Lombardi on Feb. 27. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A boisterous crowd greeted Denver Nuggets star Danilo Gallinari on Monday night for the broadcast of CBS4’s Xfinity Monday Live!

When the 6 foot, 10 inch Italian sat down with CBS4’s Vic Lombardi in the special guest’s chair for the show at the Tavern Downtown, audience members waved Italian flags and held up signs. One gentleman even brought an accordion and got some people dancing.

It will likely be an even louder reception at the Pepsi Center in a few days when Gallinari finally steps on the court again. The small forward was leading the Nuggets in scoring this season until he hurt his ankle on Feb. 6.

Gallinari told Lombardi during the show that his ankle is recovering nicely and he could be ready to go by the end of the week.

“Today I started to run a little bit up and down the court so I was able to move a little bit more,” Gallinari said. “It’s feeling much better and I’m happy with the recovery.”

Hearing that he’s still got a few more days of healing to go, Lombardi encouraged Gallinari to have some fresh prosciutto — an Italian specialty — which he said “helps the healing process.”

“Yes, I know that,” Gallinari said, smiling.

Gallinari is averaging 17 points a game and the team has mostly struggled in his absence. It hasn’t helped that several other key members of the team have also been out with injuries recently, including Ty Lawson and Nene.

Despite the losses this month, Gallinari told Lombardi he thinks the Nuggets are poised to make a deep playoff run this year.

“We had such a good start that now, even if we had a tough month, we’re going to be back on track right after the All-Star break. We’re going to get everybody back. We’re going to have a healthy team, so we’re going to be ready for a push to the playoffs,” Gallinari said.

Gallinari said there are many home games on the schedule in March, which presents a good opportunity.

“Home court has been great for us — not as great as it used to be in past years, but we want to get back on track on that one and make sure we take care of home games,” Gallinari said. “And then we’re going to take care of the games on the road, too.”

Gallinari said one of his best moments this season so far was his return to New York and Madison Square Garden to face his old team. Gallinari scored 37 points and out-dueled Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets defeated the Knicks 119-114.

“I was definitely ready to play. It was an important game for me, very emotional. I wanted to win that game more than everything, and that game meant a lot to me,” he said. “Fortunately we got that win.”

Watch more of the video with Gallinari in the Xfinity Monday Live! section.

- Written by Jesse Sarles for CBSDenver.com

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