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Celtics Notebook

Celtics’ Danilo Gallinari has been through ACL rehab before, and it’s all about small victories

Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL playing for Italy at EuroBasket in the summer.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The only promise Danilo Gallinari would make Tuesday is that he will put every effort into his rehabilitation.

The Celtics aren’t counting on one of their top free-agent acquisitions to play this season, and Gallinari said he’s at the very beginning of his recovery from a torn left ACL.

Boston picked up Gallinari as a sharpshooting big who could play multiple positions and supplement their second unit. That was until he tore the ACL playing for Italy at EuroBasket, the second time Gallinari has torn the major ligament, and there is no guarantee he’ll play at all this season.

“It’s tough mentally,” he said. “The good and the bad [of] this is I’ve been through this already. I know what to expect, but it’s always tough especially when you approach a situation like this, coming in [to] play for the Celtics, ready to help the team win. Nothing I can do about it. We’re here and now I’ve got to focus on the rehab.”

Gallinari tore his ACL in the same knee in April 2013 but instead of immediate reconstructive surgery, he opted for a less invasive procedure that was unsuccessful, forcing him to have another surgery in January 2014 before missing the entire season.


This time, Gallinari underwent surgery approximately three weeks after the injury. He would not say whether he would return this season.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day, that’s the best way to approach a rehab like this, and not really think about what’s going to happen in the future,” he said. “That’s the approach that I have. I knew something was wrong [with the knee] right away, the way that I got injured was very similar to the way that I got injured the first time.”

Danilo Gallinari, seen here competing in the 2020 Olympics, faces an uncertain future.Eric Gay/Associated Press

Gallinari said he plans to be around the team during his rehab. He will occupy a roster spot unless the Celtics decided to trade or waive him. The process is long and meticulous and Gallinari said he has to take positives out of the small steps, such as being able to walk on his own three days ago.


“That’s a huge step,” he said. “Small things. When you do an exercise and do more reps the next days, that’s another great thing. Small things are big things in the rehab process.”

Griffin bedding in

Blake Griffin said he is physically at 100 percent, even if he is not the player athletically he was a decade ago. With the Brooklyn Nets, his previous team, being eliminated by the Celtics in four games in the first round of the playoffs, Griffin said he didn’t rest his body after the season as he usually does. He went right to work.

“The only thing I did different this offseason is, I usually take two or three weeks off, and I just didn’t do that this season,” he said. “After last season I kind of felt like I didn’t need that break. I had the same load as I usually do. I just rolled right into lifting, doing cardio, started doing basketball [work] and I think that helped a lot. Physically my body feels great.”

The Celtics are expected to play Griffin as a backup big. He’s a legitimate 6 feet 10 inches and has the skills to play in the paint after spending his prime years as a power forward.


“[My role is] not really a worry of mine to be honest,” he said. “I think the opportunity will present itself to sort of define that role and if I’m confused about it, I know I can talk to [coach Joe Mazzulla] about it. But I think this week of practice will show me a little bit more. But that’s not something I’m pressing right now.”

Celtics add Reeves

The Celtics added former Providence guard A.J. Reeves to the roster but he’ll be waived in coming days. The Celtics will place Reeves on their G-League Maine roster and he will join Denzel Valentine, Luka Samanic. and likely Jake Layman. The Celtics are expected to add more players to the G-League roster in the coming days.

Gary Washburn is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him @GwashburnGlobe.