Danilo Gallinari targets Tuesday for return to Clippers lineup
Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari, who sat out a 14th consecutive game because of a nondisplaced fracture of the right hand, has been cleared to play again and has said he hopes to return to the lineup next week after the team’s four-game trip.
Gallinari is targeting Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center as his return date.
At least that’s what he told Sky Sport, an Italian sports website.
“I hope to do it on the court before the end of the month,” said Gallinari, who is not on the trip with the Clippers. “The hand is better. I did the latest test [Tuesday], positive results. So now I can start the rehabilitation.”
Before the Clippers defeated the host Bucks 127-120 Wednesday night, coach Doc Rivers said it was “good news” to hear that Gallinari might play Tuesday.
“I know he’s progressing,” Rivers said. “I think he’s doing better, but I don’t ever get involved in that part, you know that. All I worry about is the guys in that locker room right now. I worry about Gallo. We need him back.”
Gallinari has sat out 52 games this season because of an assortment of injuriesthe.
In the 19 games he has played, Gallinari has averaged 15.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
That’s what the Clippers were expecting from him when they executed a sign-and-trade that netted the 6-foot-10 forward a three-year deal worth $65 million. But he hasn’t been around enough to give the Clippers what they need.
The Clippers (38-33) are in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Conference and need more healthy bodies and another playmaker. They trail the Utah Jazz (40-31), who occupy the final West playoff spot, by two games.
The Clippers, who travel to Indiana and Toronto this week, will have nine regular-season games left after the trip.
“Listen, we have key guys out,” Rivers said. “We’ve had them out all year, but in Gallo’s case, it really hurts when you take Tobias [Harris] off the floor, we don’t have a lot of shooting left. It is what it is, though. And we’ve been fine. We’ll get through it.”
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