What does Danilo Gallinari’s meniscus injury mean for the Celtics?

Forsberg: How Danilo Gallinari’s meniscus injury affects the Celtics appeared first on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari suffered a torn meniscus while playing for Italy in a FIBA ​​World Cup qualifier on Saturday. So what does it mean for the Celtics a month before training camp opens for the 2022-23 season?

While it’s not an ideal situation for a team that made adding depth a priority after falling in the NBA Finals, the absence of ligament damage could limit the time Gallinari misses with injury.

The visualization will help Gallinari decide his best path forward. Robert Williams tore his meniscus late in the 2021-22 season and opted to undergo surgery, which allowed him to return to the playoffs less than a month later. If the 34-year-old Gallinari chooses to repair the meniscus, it would lead to a much longer recovery and put much of this season in jeopardy.

The Celtics were excited about their depth after adding both Gallinari and Malcolm Brogdon to their returning core this offseason. Boston is thin at the big man position, where Williams’ injury history and Al Horford’s age (36) could have paved the way for Gallinari to play a healthy share of minutes at both the 4th and 5th off the bench .

If Gallinari misses time, Boston will likely lean more heavily on small-ball lineups, using Grant Williams as a small center or perhaps even mixing Jayson Tatum into that spot at times when the team might otherwise add size and versatility. on the parquet. The addition of Brogdon could allow coach Ime Udoka to get creative in developing lineups with flexibility, even if he lacks pure size.

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If Gallinari misses time early in the season, it could clear a path for second-year forward Sam Hauser to see time after signing with the parent roster this summer. The 6-foot-7 Hauser can provide some of the perimeter shooting that’s been lost in Gallinari’s absence, though he needs to prove he can consistently defend at the NBA level and provide more than just shooting on the offensive end.

Behind Williams and Horford, Boston will bring a collection of less-experienced bigs to camp, including Luke Cornett and former first-round picks Mfiondu Kabengele, Noah Vonleh and Bruno Caboclo.

Ultimately, situations like this are why the Celtics craved depth. The team will cross its fingers that Gallinari can return and step up during the season, but there will be an opportunity for younger players to make their case to be part of the rotation when Boston is closer to full health. .

The Celtics could consider an outside addition — particularly if Gallinari’s absence is prolonged — but they’re already on the hook, meaning every dollar spent is multiplied by Boston’s total outlay.

The team should give the current roster options every chance to hold down the fort before exploring outside candidates. Boston has a collection of tradeable player exceptions to spend beyond a minimum contract, but again, given the cost, it seems unlikely to use them unless Gallinari’s absence is extended and creates a glaring hole at his position. .

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