Danilo Gallinari hasn’t had it easy during his first year with the Boston Celtics, but amid injury recovery, the optimism certainly remained in place.
Gallinari has yet to debut with Boston since the 34-year-old went down with a torn ACL during the preseason. Since then, Gallinari publicized his recovery journey online, understood the organization’s perspective and maintained an overall positive mindset through what’s been a challenging period with the C’s.
And with just nine games scheduled before playoff action rolls around, that hasn’t changed for Gallinari.
“Everything is going well,” Gallinari told reporters Thursday at team practice, per NBC Sports Boston video. “Still a long way, but it’s going well. … Playoffs is still in my head. So that’s something that I’m looking for to it. I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not, but from a motivation standpoint, it’s always something that motivates me more.”
With the Celtics still well in the hunt and just two and a half games behind the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference, finding a source of motivation can’t be hard. Gallinari, like several other Celtics roster members, has never played in an NBA Finals. Meanwhile, the C’s also are in search of redemption for last season’s loss of seizing Banner 18.
In good spirits, Gallinari even took a brief moment to joke around with fellow Celtics teammate Derrick White while chatting with the media.
“Hey D White, I need your support, just stay right here,” Gallinari jokingly said with a smile. “Just by looking at you, I feel good.”
Gallinari has a player option that could keep him in Boston for next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2024 at 36 years old.