Danilo Gallinari

Celtics Expect Robert Williams To Miss 8-12 Weeks Following Knee Procedure

Celtics big man Robert Williams has undergone an arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies from his left knee and to address swelling in that knee, the team announced today (Twitter link).

While the surgery had been expected, the Celtics revealed that the recovery timeline will be longer than initially anticipated. According to the club, Williams is expected to resume basketball activities in approximately eight-to-12 weeks. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously estimated a four-to-six week timetable.

Williams enjoyed a breakout season in 2021/22, establishing new career highs in PPG (10.0), RPG (9.6), BPG (2.2), games played and started (61), field goal percentage (73.6%), and several other categories. He also helped anchor the NBA’s top defense.

Williams initially underwent surgery on the knee in March after tearing his meniscus. He was able to return to the court less than a month later and played a part in the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals, though he wasn’t at 100% in the postseason. The 24-year-old sat out five games in the second and third rounds of the playoffs and reportedly required extensive treatment as he dealt with fluid build-up.

The decision was made this fall for Williams to undergo another procedure when he began his ramp-up process and experienced some discomfort in the knee. Based on the timeline announced today by the Celtics, it sounds like he’ll miss at least the first month or two of the regular season.

In Williams’ absence, Boston will lean on big men Al Horford and Grant Williams, with others like Luke Kornet, Noah Vonleh, Mfiondu Kabengele, and Luka Samanic vying for roster spots and playing time.

The Celtics also confirmed today (via Twitter) that Danilo Gallinari underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL. They didn’t announce a projected recovery timeline for the forward, but the expectation is that he’ll miss most or all of the 2022/23 season.

Atlantic Notes: Grimes, Toppin, Celtics, Warren

Second-year guard Quentin Grimes could replace Evan Fournier in the Knicks‘ starting lineup, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv. When New York signed Jalen Brunson this summer, there were concerns that he and Fournier might not provide enough defense as a backcourt combination.

Begley states that starting Grimes as the shooting guard and having Fournier come off the bench was among several scenarios discussed by Knicks management this summer. Another option the team considered is moving RJ Barrett into the backcourt and giving Cam Reddish a chance to start at small forward.

Although Fournier would be an expensive reserve, Begley doesn’t believe New York should try to trade him. Begley notes that the Knicks need all the shooters they can get, which is why they signed Svi Mykhailiuk earlier this week.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Members of the Knicks‘ coaching staff believe Obi Toppin could see an increased role, Begley adds in the same piece. Toppin showed progress during his second NBA season and could become a starter if New York finds a taker for Julius Randle.
  • Despite some speculation to the contrary, Jay King of the Athletic hears that the Celtics don’t plan to reach out to a veteran big man to help replace Robert Williams (Twitter link). Sources tell King that the roster spot that formerly belonged to Bruno Caboclo will likely go to another young center or power forward. Williams will undergo arthroscopic surgery and is projected to miss four to six weeks.
  • Surgeries for both Williams and Danilo Gallinari have been scheduled for Thursday, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens called Williams’ injury “short term.”
  • T.J. Warren could be the Nets‘ leading scorer off the bench if he can overcome the foot problems that have plagued him for the past two seasons, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic writes in an overview of Brooklyn’s roster. Warren averaged 19.8 points per game and shot 40.3% from three-point range during his last healthy season. Schiffer believes the team is strong everywhere but center, and he points to Dwight Howard as a potential low-cost addition who could provide experience in the middle.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, Free Agents, Brogdon, G. Williams

The Celtics are expected to apply for a disabled player exception in the wake of Danilo Gallinari‘s ACL tear, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. A report Friday indicates that Gallinari hasn’t given up hope of playing toward the end of the upcoming season, but it appears to be a long shot given his age and the severity of the injury.

If the request is approved, Boston’s DPE would be about $3.2MM, which is half of Gallinari’s salary for 2022/23. The team would be able use that amount to sign a free agent, claim a player off waivers or acquire a player through trade, though Himmelsbach views that last option as unlikely because the Celtics already have two trade exceptions that are worth more.

Boston signed Gallinari in July to provide veteran help off the bench and another three-point shooting threat. His contract includes a $6.8MM player option for next season that he seems almost certain to exercise in light of the injury.

There’s more from Boston:

  • With Gallinari likely unavailable for the entire season, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe looks at some options that are still available on the free agent market. He points to Carmelo Anthony, who might welcome the chance to end his career on a title contender, along with DeMarcus Cousins, Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Washburn notes that Kevin Durant‘s trade demand worked to the Celtics’ advantage because it froze the free agent market for several weeks, leaving a wealth of veteran players available in September.
  • Malcolm Brogdon may used as the primary backup wing to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Brian Robb of MassLive writes in a mailbag column. Brogdon, who was acquired from the Pacers in July, has the size to handle the role at 6’5″ and is probably the team’s best defensive option at that position. Robb notes that it would also provide more backcourt minutes for Derrick White and Payton Pritchard.
  • Grant Williams will likely ask for a starting salary in the mid-teens in his extension negotiations, Robb adds in the same piece. Robb doesn’t believe president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will meet that price, even though Williams becomes more important with Gallinari sidelined.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, G. Williams, Hauser, Trade Exceptions

NBA players who sustain ACL tears often take a full calendar year to return to action, but Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari isn’t giving up on playing in 2022/23 after learning of his diagnosis, according to Tim Bontemps and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. A source tells Wojnarowski that Gallinari is determined to try to play before before the end of the season.

“This has been a tough week for me as I have learned the extent of my injury,” Gallinari wrote today in a statement on Twitter. “This game means everything to me and not being able to be on the court with my Celtics teammates hurts. I plan to give everything I can to the Celtics organization and my teammates as we hunt for a title.”

Even if the Celtics make another deep playoff run and play into May or June, Gallinari would need to make it back onto the court approximately eight or nine months after tearing his ACL in order to contribute in the postseason. That’s a tall order for any player, let alone a 34-year-old who tore the same ACL in 2013.

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • Gallinari is expected to undergo surgery on his left knee after the swelling goes down, a league source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. According to Himmelsbach, Grant Williams will likely play an increased role with Gallinari out, while Sam Hauser will have a chance to earn a spot in the regular rotation.
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic takes a look at what’s next for the Celtics with Gallinari sidelined, noting that Boston still has a pair of trade exceptions worth $6.9MM and $5.9MM that could be useful if the team wants to try to add some reliable veteran depth via trade.
  • In another article for The Athletic, Weiss examines how the Cavaliers’ acquisition of Donovan Mitchell affects the Celtics’ place in the Eastern Conference hierarchy and considers whether Collin Sexton‘s new four-year, $72MM deal will be a reference point when Boston discusses a potential rookie scale extension with Grant Williams.

Danilo Gallinari Diagnosed With Torn Left ACL

The news for Danilo Gallinari and the Celtics has gone from bad to worse, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Gallinari underwent further evaluation on his injured left knee and has now been diagnosed with an ACL tear.

After Gallinari injured his knee playing for Italy in a World Cup qualifying game last week, reports indicated that the Italian national team’s medical staff determined the ACL was intact. The veteran forward was later diagnosed with a torn meniscus, but additional examinations have revealed a more serious injury.

It’s a brutal turn of events for Gallinari and the Celtics. A torn meniscus is a significant enough injury on its own, but there was a chance that the 34-year-old could return from that ailment in a matter of weeks, or at least at some point during the 2022/23 season. An ACL tear is likely to keep Gallinari on the shelf for the entire year.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Gallinari spent the last two seasons with the Hawks, averaging 12.4 PPG and 4.4 RPG on .434/.392/.915 shooting in 117 games (24.7 MPG) during that time. He was traded to San Antonio this summer in the Dejounte Murray blockbuster, then was waived by the Spurs before his salary for 2022/23 became fully guaranteed.

Once he reached free agency, Gallinari signed a two-year, $13.3MM deal with the Celtics, who used their full taxpayer mid-level exception to bring him aboard. He was expected to provide some scoring punch in Boston’s frontcourt, but now seems unlikely to contribute until 2023/24.

The second year on Gallinari’s deal is a player option — it looks like a safe bet he’ll end up exercising it, since he’s unlikely to do well on the free agent market next summer as a 35-year-old coming off a torn ACL. He tore the same ACL in 2013 as a member of the Nuggets.

With Gallinari likely to miss all of ’22/23, the Celtics will have the ability to apply for a disabled player exception, which would be worth 50% of his salary (about $3.2MM), notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

A disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade, as long as the team has an available roster spot to accommodate the addition. The exception can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

Danilo Gallinari Diagnosed With Meniscus Tear

The knee injury that Danilo Gallinari suffered Saturday is less serious than originally feared, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Celtics forward tore his left meniscus during a World Cup Qualifier, the Italian National Team announced.

No timetable has been set for his recovery, but Gallinari will definitely miss the upcoming EuroBasket tournament, the Italian team added. NBA training camps open in about four weeks.

Gallinari confirmed the diagnosis on social media (Twitter link) and offered a message to Italian fans (translated by EuroHoops).

“It hurts like hell,” he wrote. “Not so much the knee that it gave up in yesterday’s game that we won again thanks to our character. That will take some time – fortunately less than expected – to get back to normal. It damn hurts to give up this national team dream. We wanted to treat ourselves to magical nights. In my own house. In our house.”

According to an ESPN report, Gallinari limped off the court in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Georgia. Trainers examined the knee on the sidelines, and he was helped to the locker room by a teammate and a staff member. There were immediate concerns that he had suffered ligament damage, including a possible torn ACL, but the Italian team doctor examined him after the game and said the ligament is OK.

“It’s tough to talk about basketball after what we saw happen to Danilo,” Italy captain Luigi Datome said. “We wish him, of course, the best.”

The 34-year-old Gallinari was an important offseason addition for Boston after reaching the NBA Finals last season. He was sent from the Hawks to the Spurs in late June as part of the Dejounte Murray trade and signed with the Celtics for the midlevel exception after reaching a buyout agreement with San Antonio.

The recovery timeline for a torn meniscus can vary significantly depending on how significant the tear is and how the injury is treated. We’ll have to wait for further updates on Gallinari to get a sense of whether his recovery process will take weeks or months.

Danilo Gallinari Hurts Knee In World Cup Qualifier

Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari suffered an injury to his left knee during today’s FIBA World Cup qualifying game, tweets international basketball writer Cesare Milanti.

Gallinari was hurt on a drive to the basket during the fourth quarter of the contest between Italy and Georgia. He underwent treatment on the sidelines, but didn’t return to the game. An MRI is scheduled for Sunday to determine the full extent of the damage (Twitter link).

Italian coach Gianmarco Pozzecco originally feared that Gallinari had suffered an ACL tear, but the team doctor examined Gallinari’s left knee ligament, which has been operated on before, and determined that it’s intact.

“I hope and I pray that nothing bad will come out,” Pozzecco said. “It was … it is an honor coaching him. I saw pain in his eyes.”

Gallinari signed a two-year, $13.3MM contract with Boston in July. The seriousness of his injury will determine whether he will be available when training camps open roughly a month from now.

More Than 30 NBA Players On Track To Suit Up For EuroBasket

The first EuroBasket tournament in five years will tip off in two weeks and there are currently 34 NBA players on track to participate in the event, representing 17 different countries, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net.

EuroBasket is a 24-team international basketball competition also known as the European Basketball Championship. It historically took place every two years, but that gap was recently adjusted to four years, emulating the FIBA World Cup schedule.

The last EuroBasket tournament was played in 2017 — the next one had been scheduled for 2021, but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. As a result, after being played every two years since 1947, it has now been five years since the last EuroBasket tournament, easily the longest layoff since World War II.

It’s possible that some NBA players will be cut from their teams’ rosters or will have to drop out due to injuries or personal reasons before the event begins on September 1, but in general enthusiasm to participate in the long-awaited event appears high.

Here’s the list of NBAers currently set to play in EuroBasket, per Eurohoops:

There are also multiple NBA free agents on EuroBasket rosters, including French swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and German guard Dennis Schröder.

A number of young NBA players, such as 2022 draftees Jeremy Sochan and Nikola Jovic, have dropped out to focus on getting ready for the 2022/23 season, while others, including Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) and Frank Ntilikina (France), were ruled out due to injuries.

Round robin play will begin on September 1, with each team facing the other five clubs in its group once. The top four teams in each group will advance to a 16-team bracket that begins on September 10. The final will take place on September 18, just over a week before NBA training camps get underway.

International Notes: Gallinari, Dragic, Teodosic, Russia

Danilo Gallinari is looking forward to the next phase of his NBA career with the Celtics, but his immediate priority is the Italian national team. In an interview with Italy’s Sky Sport, Gallinari talks about the challenges that lie ahead in both the next round of EuroBasket and the 2023 World Cup qualifiers (translation by Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops).

“There are many very strong teams carrying multiple NBA players,” Gallinari said of Italy’s EuroBasket competitors. “We will have to be amazing and maybe exceed expectations. But a team like ours has been successful in the past and we can be again.”

Once his international commitment is done, Gallinari will return to the U.S. to start training camp with the Celtics. He signed a two-year, $13.3MM contract with Boston after reaching a buyout agreement with the Spurs last month, believing the Celtics offer his best chance to win an NBA title.

“The goal is the ring with Boston,” Gallinari said. “Despite being in the NBA for 14 years, I feel excited for the next chapter in my career. As long as I can feel the excitement, I don’t want to stop. At the Celtics, there are definitely many responsibilities and expectations. I have already talked with many of my new teammates and members of the coaching staff. They can’t wait to get back in action, there is great enthusiasm. Some are already there. Myself, I am focused on Italy, and after I will focus on the Celtics.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Goran Dragic is ready for a different role with Slovenia than he had when his country won the EuroBasket gold medal five years ago, according to a Eurohoops report. Dragic was the team leader in 2017, but now that role belongs to Luka Doncic. “I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin,” Dragic said. “The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult.”
  • European star and former NBA player Milos Teodosic has been cut from the Serbian national team heading into EuroBasket, per Askounis, relaying a report from Mozzart Sport. The 35-year-old guard, who spent two seasons with the Clippers, is one of the top players in Serbian history and served as team captain during the 2016 Olympics.
  • In a separate story, Askounis reviews the players who have left their teams in Russia since the nation was disqualified from EuroLeague play in the wake of the Ukrainian invasion. The list includes some familiar NBA names such as Kevin Pangos, Will Clyburn, Joel Bolomboy, Alex PoythressLorenzo Brown, Jordan Mickey and Mario Hezonja.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, R. Williams, Horford, Mitchell

Danilo Gallinari‘s first exposure to the NBA came in the form of Larry Bird tapes that he watched while growing up in Italy, so it was an easy decision to join the Celtics in free agency, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. At age 33 and after 14 years in the league, Gallinari gets to live out his dream of playing for Bird’s former franchise.

“I think it’s something that is honestly gonna motivate me,” he said. “If I can do and achieve, team-wise, just a little bit of what he achieved in the past for the Celtics, it will be amazing.”

The Bulls would have given Gallinari more money, according to Weiss, but his affection for the Celtics prompted him to take their offer of $13.3MM over the next two seasons. Now that he’s officially in Boston, the forward wants to be part of bringing an 18th NBA championship to the city.

“You walk even in this facility, you look around and see what’s going on around the banners and the history and everything the Celtics were about, it was an easy choice,” Gallinari said.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Center Robert Williams isn’t showing any ill effects from playing in the postseason after undergoing meniscus surgery in March, a source tells Sean Deveney of Heavy. Williams dealt with frequent knee soreness and swelling, but he was still able to be on the court for 17 of Boston’s 24 games in its run to the NBA Finals. He hasn’t experienced any knee issues since then, according to Deveney’s source, and will resume training after a six-week rest period.
  • Al Horford is likely to see a reduction in playing time next season, Brian Robb of MassLive speculates in a mailbag column. He points out that Horford was fresher heading into this season because he was coming off a year in which he played just 28 games for Oklahoma City. The changes the Celtics have made so far this summer have created a deeper bench and provide more opportunity to rest Horford, particularly in back-to-backs.
  • The Celtics aren’t likely to get involved in Donovan Mitchell trade talks, Robb adds in a separate story, citing league sources, but he notes that there are other ways for Boston to benefit. Robb points to Jarred Vanderbilt as a low-cost option that the Jazz might make available.