By Ben Golliver
The fifth-year forward suffered the injury during Denver's 95-94 defeat of Dallas at the Pepsi Center on Thursday night. An MRI on Friday revealed the ACL injury but no damage to other ligaments or meniscus.
“We’re extremely disappointed for Gallo," Nuggets front office executive Masai Ujiri said in a statement. "He was having a career year in scoring and rebounding and was a huge reason for our success. We will obviously support him and be there for him throughout his recovery. Knowing his work ethic and commitment to getting back on the floor, we are confident he will come back stronger than ever next season.”
With a little more than four minutes remaining in the second quarter and the Mavericks leading 38-35, Gallinari attacked the paint going to his left but appeared to come up lame as he planted to attempt a shot in traffic. Gallinari hopped off the court, avoiding putting any weight on his left leg, while holding his left knee in evident pain. Denver's training staff immediately attended to him and he was taken off the court on a wheelchair. He departed with nine points (on 3-for-7 shooting), one rebound and one assist in 16 minutes. Denver went on the victory thanks to a game-winner from Andre Iguodala.
Nuggets coach George Karl started reserve forward Corey Brewer in place of Gallinari in the second half against the Mavericks, using Wilson Chandler and rookie guard Evan Fournier in reserve roles. Karl is also making due without starting point guard Ty Lawson, who has been sidelined with a heel injury.
Gallinari, 24, is the Nuggets' second-leading scorer, averaging 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. The No. 6 pick in the 2008 draft is in the first year of a four-year contract worth $42 million. Denver is currently the Western Conference's No. 3 seed with a record of 52-24.