Clippers ask Danilo Gallinari to play through hand injury during playoff race
In the midst of their fierce battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the LA Clippers are redefining the meaning of the phrase “all hands on deck.”
In an interview with FOX Sports Prime Ticket’s Kristina Pink before the Clippers played the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, forward Danilo Gallinari, who is currently recovering from a fracture in his right (shooting) hand, said that the team has asked him to play through the injury.
Danilo Gallinari: "The team asked me to play, so I'll play."
He doesn't seem thrilled, at least on the surface. pic.twitter.com/1cW7fg0Y8O
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) March 29, 2018
“It’s feeling better,” said Gallinari of his hand. “It’s not 100 percent, but it’s feeling better. So hopefully next game, I will be able to experience playing basketball again.
“If I want to play with the hand right now, I’m gonna feel pain,” he added. “The hand is not 100 percent, and the fracture is healing, but it is not 100 percent. So if I want to play, I’m gonna feel pain. But the team asked me to play, so I’ll play.”
The 29-year-old Gallinari suffered the non-displaced fracture on Feb. 22 in a loss to the Golden State Warriors and has now missed 18 games since. He also dealt with a glute injury earlier in the season and, all in all, has been sidelined for all but 19 games so far in his first season as a Clipper.
The 41-34 Clippers need all the help that they can get in the heat of a furious playoff race in the West — they are currently the No. 9 seed but trail the Utah Jazz by just one game for the eighth and final playoff spot. Still, asking Gallinari to play at less than 100 percent is risky, especially since this is the second injury to the same hand that he has suffered in a span of less than seven months (albeit in much less bizarre fashion this time around).