May 31, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT
The Denver Nuggets played fairly well after Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL, going 6-1 to close the regular season, though the were upset by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
But the Nuggets are clearly better with Gallinari, who averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, and could use him back sooner than later. Looks like it will be later. Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post:
Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (left knee surgery) was originally thought to be ready to play Jan. 1, but Gallinari confirmed by text Thursday that he might not return until later in January or maybe even February.
While Gallinari underwent surgery on his meniscus four weeks ago, he had a slight delay in his rehab and won’t have surgery on his torn anterior cruciate ligament for another two weeks, he said during a talk show on 102.3 ESPN.
Denver’s other wing players are in flux. Andre Iguodala can opt out and has indicated he will, and now he has even more leverage with the Nuggets. Corey Brewer is also a free agent. Wilson Chandler was once viewed as a tradable luxury, but with Gallinari out longer than expected, Denver might need to keep him. Evan Fournier and Jordan Hamilton are under contract for next season, and the Nuggets must determine whether either of those young two players has developed enough to play a larger role regularly.
It helps that the Nuggets know their situation with Gallinari so far in advance, but still leaves a complicated course to navigate.