Storyline: Danilo Gallinari Injury

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Danilo Gallinari is expected to return to the Nuggets lineup tonight against Miami after missing three games with a sore right thigh, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. Gallinari followed a full practice on Tuesday with a full shootaround on Wednesday. It isn’t certain whether he’s completely out of the woods with the injury, but he’s feeling good enough to play. Gallinari warmed up prior to the Nuggets last game, at Phoenix, but couldn’t go. Still, that was a sign he was likely closing in on a return to action.

He’s recovering from two torn lateral ligaments in the ankle — the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular — and has a sprained deltoid ligament as well. Gallinari will end this season missing the final 23 games of it. “Very disappointing,” Gallinari said. “But that’s the way it is. We’re not fighting for anything right now. As a player, it’s one of the worst feelings ever because if you’re not fighting for anything it’s even tougher to find the motivation to play a game.”

He said the decision to shut it down for the rest of the season wasn’t made in effort to preserve himself for his Italian national team obligations this summer at the Olympics in Rio. “It was not in my mind, to be honest,” Gallinari said. “I’m paid a lot of money right here in Denver to play basketball and do my job. That was my focus, to get back, even if I had to play the last two games, that’s what I wanted to do. I can’t do it, so right now the focus is to get healthy and get ready for the summer.”

Nuggets to shut down Danilo Gallinari?

If, say, the Nuggets have just a handful of games remaining and Gallinari is ready to play, do they play him? Or would it be more prudent to shut him down completely? “I’ve already thought about that. I don’t have an answer,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “I think it’s a very good question. At that point, depending on where we are, it’s going to depend on four games to go, what is the picture? Are we 15 games out of the playoffs? Well, it probably makes sense to play some of our younger guys and let them get minutes and see what they can do. But we’ll see.”

Danilo Gallinari to miss significant time?

Denver Nuggets leading scorer Danilo Gallinari said he expects to miss significant time after spraining his right ankle in the Nuggets’ 122-116 overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. X-rays were negative, but Gallinari will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. “It’s worse than the one I had just two months ago,” said Gallinari, who sat out six games in December due to an ankle injury. “It’s worse than that one.”
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March 30, 2017 | 4:16 pm EDT Update
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March 30, 2017 | 3:13 pm EDT Update