Although the Denver Nuggets lost forward Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors in free agency last year, the biggest reason they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003 were their injuries.
Perhaps no injury was more devastating than the loss of forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari needed a total reconstruction of his left knee and missed the entire season. According to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com Gallinari hopes to be back with the Nuggets by training camp, but they may not be a realistic goal.
“I think training camp is realistic,” he said. “It’s something that we really talked about with the doctor. It’s something that we really want to achieve and we believe is going to be possible.”
Gallinari has not played in 14 months. His return, whenever it happens, would be an emotional lift and, depending on his play, potentially a practical boost for a team that will also add the No. 11 pick heading into the second season under coach Brian Shaw.
“I’m not feeling any pressure,” Gallinari said. “The only thing that I’m feeling is that fire that I have inside right now. I never had it before in my career. When you cannot do what you love for more than one year, it’s like I was saying to the Italian media, it’s like, I don’t know, a mom that doesn’t see her son for more than one year. When you see him, it’s one of the best feelings ever. That’s what I feel right now.
Gallinari averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game during the 2012-13 season