DENVER (CBS4) – Dura
That’s Italian for “tough,” and it’s how Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets star forward from Italy, would describe missing an entire season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee more than a year ago.
He’s had surgery three times in nine months on both knees, most recently in January, and he hasn’t played in 13 months. Purple scars litter both knees.
“The last game I played was April 4, 2013. I haven’t been able to play basketball since then,” Gallinari said. “You go in and think that after one surgery, you’ll be fine.”
Gallinari will be 100 percent by the end of the summer, and he will play again. Whether that’s in a Nuggets uniform is unclear. Nuggets GM Tim Connelly has indicated no player is untouchable, and Gallinari says he wouldn’t be surprised if he’s traded before the NBA draft on June 26.
“I’ve been in some crazy, crazy trades, as you know,” he told CBS4. “This is the NBA. My only focus and our only focus as players is to be focused on our job, in the gym and do what we’re supposed to do. We get paid a lot of money to play basketball, and that’s what we got to focus on.”
But he’d like to stay in Colorado.
“I love Denver, and I would like to stay here my next 10 years before I retire,” Gallinari said. “I would like to retire here. But this is something I cannot control.”
In a more light-hearted moment during his interview, Gallinari tutored CBS4’s Vic Lombardi on trick shots, something he spent a year perfecting while in Denver. In one, Gallinari ricocheted a ball off the gym’s wall and into the hoop. It took him three attempts.
Lombardi’s first attempt? Well, let’s just say it was a little short of the basket.