Celtics’ Danilo Gallinari is still charting a potential return this season from ACL surgery

"My mindset is that I want to play."

The Boston Celtics introduced new player Danilo Gallinari (cq) at a morning press conference at the Auerbach Center.
Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff

A torn ACL has kept Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari on the shelf since August.

But the 34-year-old forward is still holding out hope that he contribute on the court for the Celtics this season.

“My mindset is that I want to play, and that I’m going to play at the end of the season,” Gallinari told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “I want to play in the playoffs. So that’s the mindset that helps me every day get better and motivates me even more.”

The Celtics signed Gallinari to a two-year, $13.3 million contract last July, with Boston targeting the sharpshooter for some added scoring pop off the bench. Just a month later, the 6-foot-10 forward suffered his knee injury while playing for Italy during the FIBA Eurocup.


Even with Gallinari out of commission, the Celtics sit atop the NBA standings with a 35-14 record. Still, Boston misses Gallinari’s ability to pile up points beyond the arc. Last season, Gallinari averaged 11.7 points per game with the Atlanta Hawks, connecting on 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts.

Back in October, Gallinari didn’t rule out a potential return in the spring.

“I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “That’s the best way to approach a rehab and approach an injury like this, to take it day by day and not really think about what’s going to happen in the future. So that’s the approach that I have.”

Last month, Gallinari was cleared to begin running on his surgically repaired knee. He was later seen getting up shots at Boston’s practice facility, the Auerbach Center.

“My mindset is there is definitely a chance,” Gallinari told Himmelsbach. “So when I think about the season, it’s definitely not a lost season for me. So, we’ll see. That’s the mindset that helps me and pushes me to get better every day. If it happens, it’s going to be great. If it doesn’t, I’m looking forward to next season.”


Gallinari has a long road to recovery over the next few months. But Boston did receive good news on the injury front Wednesday.

After missing Tuesday’s nail-biting loss to Miami, Jaylen Brown (adductor tightness management), Malcolm Brogdon (personal reasons), and Al Horford (rest) were all removed from the team’s injury list.

Brown, Horford, and Brogdon are all expected to play Thursday during Boston’s home game against the Knicks. Marcus Smart remains out with an ankle injury, with no set timetable for his return. 


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