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Breaking: Gallinari May Need Surgery

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Frank Isola:

Danilo Gallinari's once promising rookie season appears to be over. The Knicks announced early Tuesday that Gallinari is headed to his home country of Italy to see back specialists and that he may need surgery to correct a back problem that has affected him since July.

The News Matt Gagne was at Tuesday's practice and reports that the Knicks said they are "reconsidering all treatment options." The Knicks also said "we want him to feel 100 percent as soon as possible."

This is potentially devastating development for the sixth overall pick of last June's NBA Draft. There is no telling how long Gallinari will be sidelined should he require surgery. Moreover, there is no way of knowing if Gallinari will ever regain the form that made him the highest Knicks draft pick since Kenny "Sky" Walker was selected fifth overall in 1986. It is not common for 20-year-old world class athletes to have debilitating back injuries.

This is sobering news for Gallinari fanatics such as us, but things like this are better done sooner than later. It was bound to happen, though. A 20 year-old with back issues so debilitating that he can't sit on the bench needs measures taken for a long-term solution. It remains to be seen whether Gallo will be in top shape going into next year. The recovery process for these sorts of things varies. New York's bench will miss Danilo in the late-season playoff push, but the rookie's career clearly comes first. More on this as it develops.

Update: The Knicks may be further short-handed tomorrow night against the Nets. Al Harrington hurt his ankle in practice (thanks Eddy Curry, for having an effect on this season) and may be a game-time decision.