Danilo Gallinari has had a major setback in his return from left knee surgery, requiring a second operation Tuesday that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.
The Nuggets initially had hoped to have their star shooting forward back sometime this season, but "it was recently determined that the procedure that Danilo underwent on his knee this past summer was insufficient," Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said in a statement.
His left anterior cruciate ligament was reconstructed Tuesday in Denver by team orthopedic surgeon Steve Traina.
"Knowing Danilo's drive and work ethic, we look forward to a full recovery and a healthy return to the court next season," Connelly said.
Gallinari, the Italian sharp-shooter who joined the Nuggets in the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade a few years back, hasn't played since blowing out his left knee in a game against Dallas last April 4.
His absence played a big role in another first-round playoff exit after a franchise-best 57-win regular season and the subsequent departure of long-time coach George Karl, who was replaced by Brian Shaw.
A roster shake-up also ensued and the Nuggets are 20-20, in 10th place in the Western Conference. They'll have to come on strong over the second half of the season to keep intact their string of 10 straight playoff appearances, and now they'll have to do it without Gallinari.