Danilo Gallinari back on the court for Italy – Is he “Injury Prone?”

After missing all of the warm up games heading into the qualification round of EuroBasket 2013 Danilo Gallinari played in Italy’s opening contest against Portugal.  Gallo compiled ten points and nine rebounds in only 15 minutes as part of Italy’s 97-45 victory.

It is very promising to see Gallinari back on the court and performing effectively.  The Rooster has only appeared in 63% of the regular season games the Nuggets have played since arriving as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011 (57 performances over 90 contests).

It is easy for players to acquire the label “injury prone” and Gallinari is well on his way to earning that distinction.  He has only played in more than 80% of his team’s games once in his four year career.  In his rookie season it was a bulging disk that triggered the need for a “low-risk procedure” to release pressure on a nerve in his back.  The procedure was a success and Gallo has not experienced any apparent issues since he completed his recovery.

In his second season Gallinari played in 81 games for the Knicks and followed that up by taking part in 48 of the Knicks’ 54 games prior to being traded to the Nuggets.

His initial campaign with the Nuggets saw him miss eight games after fracturing his big toe.  He missed the final two games of the season with a sprained ankle, but appeared in all five playoff games against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In the truncated and compacted schedule last season Gallo missed 23 of the 66 games, 13 due to an ankle sprain and ten due to a fractured thumb.  So over his tenure in Denver he has fractured to digits and sprained an ankle.  Does that make it appropriate to label him with the dreaded moniker of injury prone?

I would argue it does not.  I made a case several seasons ago that Nene, who had many other, but equally unrelated injuries, did not deserve the injury prone label after he recovered from cancer.  Despite all the various physical issues he encountered, it was clear he was dealing with bad luck more than anything else.  After overcoming cancer, Nene played in 77, 82 and 75 games over the next three seasons and remained healthy until missing ten games in a row with a foot injury after being traded to the Wizards last season.

I see some of the same bad luck and mostly random injuries with Gallinari and I also expect to see Gallo return to the level of health he displayed with the Knicks in his second and third seasons where he played in 129 of a possible 136 games.  It is important to keep in mind, even though he has missed numerous games as a Nugget, Gallo has played in each of Denver’s 12 playoff games since becoming a Nugget and that is significant.  Those are the games where he needs to answer the bell and he has.

If I am right, it will bode well for the Nuggets as he had a tremendous season derailed by his two injuries.  Gallo was posting a PER well over 20 (if I remember correctly, it was even above 21) before he sprained his ankle and the Nuggets were playing at a high level.  If, and it certainly is an if, Gallinari can stay on the court, Denver can be one of the better regular season teams in the West in line for home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Should he continue to be bit by the injury bug, especially back issues or fractures to his various phalanges, it will be a red flag.  At this point in his career the injury prone label should be kept on the shelf and Nuggets fans should expect to see Gallo play in over 70 games in 2012-13.

  • eddi0

    2 words, 6 syllables…Insurance Policy. Nothing better than having WChan sitting in the grass like a tiger ready to pounce if/when Gallo goes down. Point being, I truly hope Gallo can make it through a season non-injured (wish no ill will) but if for some reason he really cannot stay healthy we do have options. Great spot to be in since we’ve got the deepest bench in the league. I’m actually foreseeing WChan and Gallo playing simultaneously with Gallo playing the 4 or 5 and WChan playing the 3 or 4. Could be a lethal “small ball” line-up.

    • Jeff

      LOL you said wish no ill will – isn’t that chandler’s nickname?

  • SmokinNugs

    Agreed, he’s no more injury prone than Chandler

  • Eddie

    Bad luck and random injuries, indeed. Gallo was playing very well before he rolled his ankle. He looked like the steal of the Melo deal and most seemed to be happy with his contract extension. I hope he plays few minutes for Italy and shows up to camp healthy.

  • ENK

    it’s not Gallo’s fault that Chandler Parsons stepped on his ankle. Aside from the thumb thing, which was kinda his own doing, i’d say Gallo has had a bit of bad luck.

  • GK4Prez

    I might be wrong, but wasn’t a fracture from a previous injury discovered when he sprained his ankle last season?

    • Ryan

      Yes, you are correct

  • GK4Prez

    I would gladly take the 70 games, that would be a jump from 63% to 85% of games played.

  • Alberto

    I think Denver should risk with Gallo: he is the only player (with Ty Lawson) that can become a star and if you want to win you must have one.
    Anywhere he played very well the last match against Portugal: he collected a lot of assist and rebounds in few minutes

  • Neal

    Love the quotes coming from Iggy today! Plus it makes Kizla look like an even bigger fool for trying to make his initial comments a big deal. The guy was in the middle of a gold medal run for his country. I wouldn’t give some clown trying to cause a controversy the time of day either.

    • Ryan

      If I’m not mistaken, “Kizla” is Polish for “verbal diarrhea”

      • Neal

        haha, I totally agree

  • parkhill

    I’d still manage Gallo minutes. His mileage is high, how long as he been a pro? I’d like to see him when we need a solid offensive option–off the bench. He can do so much more than play the majority of minutes at 3 for a high speed team, that wears him out unnecessarily. Karl wears out a few guys a year, Gallo shouldn’t be one.

    This folds into the broader issue of allotting time for ten players to find a role on this team, this is a must given our style of play.

    • CJP32

      Totally agree, over the course of an 82 game season, some of these players will burn out with this playing style, and some will thrive on it. There are minutes for 10 guys, it just means that some will play less than they wish to, but in the long run it will benefit them. Of course injuries will happen. No one on this team should average above 32 mpg except maybe Ty and Iggy, the rest can easily play 26-30 and should be satisfied. I would like to see GK use a 10 man rotation and make use of most players throughout the year, come Playoff time he will need everyone available.

      • Neal

        Good points. But George Karl and a 10-man rotation!!! Haha. This is the guy who played like 7 or 8 against the Knicks mid-season on the 2nd night of a back to back! GK would probably play a SG at the 2 before he plays a 10 man rotation with my consistency.

        On second thought, the 10 man would probably come first. He will ride the 2 pg lineup to the grave.

        • Neal

          *any, not my

  • NateTimmonsSucks

    Package Gallo and Chandler for Rudy Gay. Done deal!

  • Tommy

    13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks in 28 minutes in second game

  • Michele

    16 points 11 rebs 2/9 FG and 0/5 3pointers 10 drawn fouls 12/13 FTs. Gallo played a solid match while has been weak at shooting. he missed a couple of very free threes. a reverse dunk from him closed definitely the match vs turkey in the first (and prolly the only) tough match of this preliminary contest.

    He looked in shape and very focused.