This is just terrible news — Danilo Gallinari’s knee injury suffered Thursday night appears to be a torn ACL that will end the season for Denver’s second leading scorer. It will take a Friday MRI to confirm but things are not good, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
“The doctor indicated that the ligament was loose,” one source told Yahoo! Sports. “They expect that it’s a torn ACL.”
That would sideline him not only this playoffs but for likely at least half of next season (depends on the severity of the tear).
Gallinari averages 16.2 points a game and is a big part of how Denver runs and spaces the floor (he is shooting 41 percent from three). He plays the four and his ability to pull bigs out to the arc to defend him opens up a lot of driving lanes. Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer will get the call to fill in those points in Gallo’s absence — and they can, although not as consistently. This also could open up some minutes for rookie Evan Fournier, who has played better of late.
The Gallinari injury combined with Ty Lawson being out with a torn plantar facia in his heel make the Nuggets much more vulnerable in the playoffs. Lawson is the guy that drives that high powered Nugget offense and while he could be back for the postseason if he is not 100 percent neither is Denver. When a team’s two leading scorers are out they just are not as dangerous. And this rash of injuries could not have come at a worse time for a Nuggets team that looked like a real playoff threat.
Report: Doc Rivers was advised against joining Lakers because LeBron James doesn’t want to be coached
But maybe something about the Lakers also turned him off.
Michael Wilbon on ESPN:
There are people in southern California right in that environment telling Doc, “You don’t want do this.” And one of those reasons is simply LeBron James. He’s been told by people – and I know this – LeBron doesn’t want to be coached.
Don’t get it twisted: Just because people warned Rivers about coaching LeBron doesn’t mean Rivers wanted to avoid coaching LeBron. Not all advice is heeded.
I also think the idea LeBron doesn’t want to be coached is wrong. LeBron is the most important person on all his teams. There’s no getting around that. His coach must work with him, not above him. That’s not the traditional power structure, but LeBron developed productive partnerships with Tyronn Lue and Erik Spoelstra. It can work, as long as the coach doesn’t try to posture as LeBron’s boss. The coach works for LeBron far more than LeBron works for the coach. That’s OK.
And Rivers is OK staying with the Clippers, surely for numerous reasons.
Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will undergo a minor procedure on his left thumb and miss the rest of the season, league sources told ESPN.
Oubre is expected to make a full recovery in four to six weeks, sources said.
This could be a blessing in disguise for Oubre, who’ll be a restricted free agent this summer. He ends his season on a high note on the court. There’s no opportunity for regression to the mean. This also isn’t an injury that will last long into the offseason.
The 23-year-old Oubre is a versatile defender. When his 3-pointer is falling, he looks really good. In a league that can’t get enough productive wings, he should draw a solid contract.
Nick Collison: Thunder should retire Kevin Durant’s number
Kevin Durant gave you the nickname “Mr. Thunder.” Do you think the Thunder should eventually retire No. 35?
It’s their decision to make, but I would certainly think so. He’s meant a ton to Thunder basketball and spent a huge majority of his career here. A lot of these honors are just kind of what the team decides to do, and I think players are appreciative of them. I don’t get too worked up about it. I’ll let other people debate that, but to me, he’s a big part of what we did here.
The Thunder will probably retire Durant’s number. Time heals most wounds, likely including this one.
Durant spent eight seasons in Oklahoma City. He won MVP and made five All-NBA first teams and an All-NBA second team there. He helped the Thunder win 10 playoff series.
No matter when each player retires, Oklahoma City will almost certainly retire Russell Westbrook‘s number first. He’s the one who stayed.
But some time after that, I’d bet on Durant getting his number retired.
Kobe Bryant: I wanted to play for Knicks, because of Madison Square Garden