July 17, 2008 - 9:00 pm
First it was the Clippers’ Eric Gordon. Now it’s the New York Knicks’ Danilo Gallinari who is sidelined from the NBA Summer League with an injury.
Gallinari, a 6-foot-9-inch, 19-year-old forward from Italy taken sixth overall in last month’s draft, strained his lower back in Monday’s win over Cleveland and will miss the rest of the summer league. An MRI on Wednesday revealed no structural damage.
“Everybody likes to play, but I have to be careful not to hurt it further,” Gallinari said before the Knicks’ 82-67 loss to San Antonio on Wednesday at Cox Pavilion.
Another factor in the decision to shut him down is that Gallinari is a member of the Italian national team, and Italy will be trying to qualify for a spot in the Olympics next week.
“It’s not a big deal if he misses two or three days,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He has to get well, not just for us, but for his national team. That’s also a consideration.”
He joins Gordon, who pulled his left hamstring Saturday, as the two biggest names to get injured in the summer league. Gordon, the seventh overall pick in the draft, left the Clippers this week to receive treatment in Los Angeles.
The Knicks also lost third-year forward Renaldo Balkman, who sprained his right ankle in the third quarter Wednesday against San Antonio and left on crutches.
“He was going home anyway,” D’Antoni said. “Now he’s going home limping.”
• FIRST TO FINISH — The Memphis Grizzlies were the first of the 21 teams to conclude summer league play as they lost to the Clippers 82-74 Wednesday. Memphis, which played without Michael Conley and Javaris Crittenton, finished 2-3.
• BECK’S BACK — Romel Beck had sufficiently recovered from a poke to his right eye and returned to the court for Cleveland.
The former UNLV guard, injured Monday, scored five points and had one rebound in 17 minutes off the bench in the Cavaliers’ 73-72 loss to Houston at the Thomas & Mack Center.
• STAT LEADERS — With four days remaining, Houston’s Donte Greene is the summer league’s leading scorer, averaging 28.5 points.
Kevin Love of Minnesota is the top rebounder at 15.0, and Milwaukee’s Ramon Sessions of UNR leads in assists with a 6.5 average.