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Nuggets forward Gallinari receives good news about injury

Tests determine the chip fracture in foot likely happened before pro career began

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari leaves Pepsi Center after talking to reporters on Tuesday.
Aaron J. Lopez/Nuggets.com

Leave it to Danilo Gallinari to make even a walking boot look fashionable.

The Georgio Armani spokesman and Denver Nuggets leading scorer was in good spirits Tuesday after receiving a measure of positive news about his injured left ankle and foot.

Gallinari sprained his ankle Monday night in Denver’s 99-90 loss to the Houston Rockets, and subsequent X-rays revealed a chip fracture in his foot. Follow-up exams Tuesday determined the fracture was from a prior injury that likely occurred before his pro career began.

Gallinari will wear a walking boot for 3 to 5 days and receive treatment for a “significant” ankle sprain. He is hoping to return in about four weeks.

“If it can be faster, it’s better, but with these kind of things, you want to take your time and have it heal in the right way,” Gallinari said. “I don’t want to rush it.”

Gallinari, who is averaging a career-high 17 points and 5.8 rebounds in 25 games, rolled his ankle while driving to the basket in the third quarter Monday night. The injury comes in the midst of a 19-game stretch that includes 17 games against teams with winning records.

“February was already a tough month and now it’s going to be tougher,” Gallinari said.

If the four-week timetable pans out, Gallinari could miss about 12 to 14 games. The All-Star break will help in that regard as the Nuggets get a five-day break from Feb. 24-28.

Until then Denver (15-10) will try to get healthy and rely on its depth to keep pace in the tightly packed Western Conference race.

“The team was definitely built to be two-deep at each position and it's worked for us so far,” shooting guard Arron Afflalo said. “We've just got to get back on the right track.”

Afflalo said he plans to return Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks after missing Monday night’s game because of a sprained left ankle and sprained right big toe. Starting power forward Nene (left heel strain) also sat out against Houston and is a game-time decision for Wednesday.

Center Timofey Mozgov (sprained left ankle) and reserve forward Corey Brewer (personal reasons) will not play against Dallas as the Nuggets try to end a three-game losing streak.

“We’re in the mode of trying to get some wins and stay solid and don’t lose the positive stuff,” coach George Karl said. “We have played so well that we had a buffer. We’ve given that buffer away a little bit right now.

“Every team's going to get tired, every team's going to have a bad part of their schedule, every team's going to have injuries. It's how you adjust and how you make it happen in a positive way.”

When Brewer returns to the team, he is a candidate to start in Gallinari’s small forward spot, but Karl wasn’t sure who would get those opening minutes before then.

Rookie forward Kenneth Faried got his first career start Monday and finished with six points and eight rebounds. Rudy Fernandez and Al Harrington also are options, but Karl prefers to keep his second unit together to maintain some consistency.

Regardless of who starts, the Nuggets will need across-the-board contributions.

“I still think we’re in a great place,” Karl said. “We‘re ahead of where I thought we’d be at this moment. We knew February was going to be hard, and now with injuries, it’s going to be harder. That doesn’t mean we can’t figure out how to win games … I’m confident we will.”

VIDEO: Gallinari discusses injury


Aaron Lopez
Aaron J. Lopez is the primary writer for Nuggets.com, providing behind-the-scenes content, including feature stories and video for the site. Before joining the Nuggets in 2009, he spent 15 years covering Colorado sports for the Rocky Mountain News and the Associated Press, making him one of the longest-tenured sports writers in Denver. Aaron's full bio...