Gallinari Gives Optimistic Rehab Update Ahead of Playoffs

BOSTON – As he continues to make strides in his rehab following offseason ACL surgery, Danilo Gallinari isn’t ruling out a playoff return for the Boston Celtics this spring.

Gallinari, who has yet to play a game for the C’s after tearing his left ACL in August and going under the knife in September, seemed cautiously optimistic about his return timeline while speaking to the media following Thursday afternoon’s practice in Brighton.

“Playoffs is still in my head,” said the veteran forward, whose team has nine games left in the regular season before the start of the postseason in mid-April. “I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not, but from a motivation standpoint, it’s always something that motivates me more.”

There would be several boxes Gallinari needs to check off before returning to the court. He has yet to play 1-on-1, let alone 5-on-5, so he still has a way to go in his rehab. However, he is making progress in his weight-room and mobility tests, so he remains hopeful.

Gallinari has also been traveling with the team for most of the season, which has been beneficial in many ways.

For one, it has allowed him to maintain a consistent rehab routine, working with the same trainers that work with the rest of the team. Traveling has also kept his mental spirits high just by being among his teammates on a regular basis. And being around the team has allowed him to be both a student and a teacher – learning the system while also being a sideline advisor for his teammates.

Those teammates have been keeping an eye on Gallinari during his practice sessions and Derrick White reported that Gallo still looks like the same knock-down shooter that he has been throughout his entire career.

“He's working hard and he doesn't seem to miss anytime I watch him shoot,” White said. “I know he's working towards [returning] and it's good to see him moving around and doing things that we're used to seeing Gallo do.”

Another reason why Gallinari is eager to get on the court with this team is that he knows that this is the best chance that he’s had in his 15-year career to win a championship. With that being said, he won’t rush back because he doesn't want to risk the potential playing years that he still has ahead of him.

“At this stage, maybe you want to push a little more, but at the same time, yes, I’m older, but I’m far from being done with basketball,” the 34-year-old said. “You don’t want to risk it too much, because you’re not that young, but you still have some years to play. So you just want to do it the best way – just listening to your knee, and whatever the knee is telling you, that’s the path you’ve got to follow and the things you’ve got to do day by day.”

If Gallinari can return, he has the potential to give the Celtics a significant shooting boost off the bench. He boasts a career scoring average of 15.6 points per game and has made a total of 1,426 3-pointers at a 38.2 percent clip. If not, he’ll continue to be a valuable veteran presence on the bench with the hope of adding on-court value in the future.