Gallinari to Have Surgery, Ending Season

The New York Times—New York, NY—April 3, 2009

Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks' most promising prospect in two decades, will have minor back surgery on Tuesday, ending his rookie season. Recovery is expected to take six to eight weeks, giving him ample time to get ready for next season.

Gallinari will undergo a laminotomy, a minimally invasive procedure in which doctors shave part of a bony plate that is irritating a nearby nerve. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Patrick O’Leary, an orthopedic spine specialist, at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. A neurosurgeon from Gallinari’s native Italy will attend and observe the procedure.

The decision to undergo surgery, which was announced Friday, had been expected since Gallinari shut himself down two weeks ago. He has been playing in pain since July, when he injured his back during the N.B.A. summer league.

Although an aggressive rehabilitation program allowed Gallinari to play 28 games from mid-January to mid-March, he was frustrated by the physical limitations.

“We tried everything for eight months, since I got this problem,” Gallinari, 20, said last month. He has estimated that he played at just 60 percent to 70 percent of full strength.

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