Celtics’ Danilo Gallinari’s injury update takes surprising turn

When the Boston Celtics signed veteran Danilo Gallinari in the offseason, they expected to add an experienced forward and high-quality off-ball threat to play off of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. However, Gallinari tore his ACL while playing for the Italian national team during the FIBA EuroBasket competition and has yet to suit up for the Celtics after signing a two-year contract with the club.

Nonetheless, while his ACL injury has long been expected to keep him out for the regular season, Gallinari is holding out hope that he can return to the team during the playoffs.

“My mindset is that I want to play, and that I’m going to play at the end of the season,” Gallinari tells the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “I want to play in the playoffs.”

At 34-years-old and coming off of a major injury, it’s unclear how much Gallinari can or expects to contribute to the Celtics in the postseason. Boston, to their credit, has faced all of their obstacles in stride and currently have the best record in the league at 35-14.

Even without Gallinari, their offense is one of the best in the NBA, ranked second in scoring average (117.6 points per game) and third in offensive efficiency (117.6 offensive rating). Defensively, an area where Gallinari may hinder the team more than he helps, the Celtics are excelling and holding opponents to 112.0 points per game (8th in the NBA).

Still, the added firepower won’t hurt, as teams will throw everything they can at Tatum and Brown during the playoffs. Gallinari, with a career scoring average of 15.6 points per game and a career 3-point percentage of 38.2, may be just what the doctor ordered when he comes back from injury.

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