DENVER >> The Denver Nuggets will be without versatile forward Danilo Gallinari for the rest of the season after tests Friday showed he tore his left ACL against Dallas the previous night.
The team said an MRI showed no other signs of ligament or meniscus damage, adding Gallinari will have season-ending surgery soon and “a prognosis for a full recovery is excellent.”
“We’re extremely disappointed for Gallo. He was having a career year in scoring and rebounding and was a huge reason for our success,” said Masai Ujiri, Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations. “We will obviously support him and be there for him throughout his recovery.
“Knowing his work ethic and commitment to getting back on the floor, we are confident he will come back stronger than ever next season.”
Gallinari planted his left leg awkwardly while going for a layup in the first half of Denver’s 95-94 win Thursday night, its 19th straight at home. His knee buckled and he went down, screaming in pain.
The Nuggets sent him for an MRI on Friday and it confirmed their fears of a serious injury that will require a long rehabilitation.
The 24-year-old Italian forward averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 71 games this season for Denver, which has clinched a playoff berth.
Acquired from the New York Knicks in the blockbuster trade of Carmelo Anthony two years ago, Gallinari signed a four-year, $42 million extension last season.
Gallinari is the Nuggets’ second-leading scorer, and their top scorer, Ty Lawson (16.7) is out indefinitely with a torn right heel.