This time of the year is tricky. Players want to stay in shape so some will take part in pro-ams or open runs like Atlanta Hawks players have this summer. Others take to the international game and play for their homelands in tournaments gearing up for the FIBA World Cup and other events and tournaments.
Former Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari falls under the latter category taking the floor for Italy in qualifying action this summer.
The Hawks trade Gallinari to the San Antonio Spurs this offseason along with several first-round picks for Dejounte Murray in one of the biggest moves of the summer. He was released by the Spurs and signed with the Boston Celtics.
That could make Sunday’s news even more devastating.
Danilo Gallinari appears to suffer injury while playing for Italy in FIBA qualifiers
Italy was taking on Georgia in the second round of qualifying action for next year’s FIBA World Cup tournament. The game was tied 66-all fairly early in the fourth quarter. Gallinari was running down the floor on a fastbreak when point guard Nico Mannion delivered the ball to him at the top of the circle.
Gallinari briefly grabs the ball before turning it loose and hopping off of the court while clutching at his leg.
Italy did go on to get the victory over Georgia 91-84.
The 34-year-old Gallinari had 17 points, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 15 minutes of play before exiting the contest. The severity is still uncertain. Some described it as seeming like a “serious” injury but early reports would seem to dispute that at least to some degree, though nothing is confirmed.
Last season, Gallinari came mostly off of the bench. But he also stepped in as a starter for John Collins while the latter was dealing with foot and hand injuries down the stretch.
A 13-year veteran, Gallinari called his move to Boston a childhood “dream come true”.
Boston is expected to be one of, if not the top team in the Eastern Conference this coming season. Gallinari was expected to be a substantial part of that. His ability to score in the post or on the perimeter should suit the Celtics well, particularly off of the bench.
He was called a “bargain” for the two-year, $13 million deal he signed with the Celtics.
But he was set to count for upwards of $20 million next season had the Hawks retained him this offseason.
His loss will be felt with the Hawks revamping their entire bench this summer. The bigger concern for Celtics and Gallo fans, though, is how long this is going to keep him sidelined.