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Danilo Gallinari may return sooner than expected

Jun 15, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

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There hasn’t been a lot of great news out of Denver lately as far as the Nuggets are concerned. They fired head coach George Karl. They lost GM Masai Ujiri to the Toronto Raptors. One of their best players in Andre Iguodala is opting out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

Finally, though, there’s something positive to report.

Danilo Gallinari suffered a torn ACL at the beginning of April that forced him out of action for the rest of the year, and the injury was expected to sideline him through February of next season.

But now, it appears his return could come much quicker than that.

From the Associated Press:

Team spokesman Tim Gelt forwarded a statement from the clinic to The Associated Press on Friday night that read: “Danilo Gallinari had an arthroscopic procedure to promote healing of his ACL tear, which was found to be partially torn at the time of surgery. Dr. Steadman has performed over 2,000 of these procedures. We are hopeful that Danilo will return to basketball sooner than if he had a complete ACL reconstruction.”

Gallinari also posted a video Friday on his official Facebook page in which he delivered the good news, saying in Italian that his recovery time will be “completely different” that previously expected.

This could mean a return to basketball as early as December, reports Ben Hochman of the Denver Post.

The loss of Gallinari was near the top of the lists of reasons that the Nuggets were ill-equipped to deal with the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, and was among those that ownership in Denver cited for parting ways with Karl. It wasn’t believed that he would be in a favorable position coaching in the final year of his contract while losses potentially piled up early in the season with Gallinari out of action.

Gallinari averaged 16.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 32.5 minutes per game for the Nuggets last season.

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