The rookie season of New York Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari, the team's first-round pick in this year's draft, could be a short one.
The New York Post reported Wednesday that the 20-year-old could be headed toward season-ending back surgery.
The Knicks are awaiting the results of an MRI. Gallinari has a bulging disc in his back and did not accompany the team on its two-game road trip to San Antonio and Memphis.
The team has been reluctant to discuss the injury. But following Tuesday's 92-80 loss to the Spurs, coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged that Gallinari might need surgery.
"Yeah, I'm worried at this point," D'Antoni told the Post. "We're just going to do what's best for him. He's 20 years old."
Gallinari injured his back in July during the first game of the Las Vegas Summer League and was sidelined for three months, missing nearly all of preseason.
D'Antoni took Gallinari, the sixth overall pick in the draft, out of the rotation after just the second game of the season.
According to the Post, Gallinari's back pain had gotten so bad that he had trouble just putting on his pants. The results of the MRI likely will show if he needs surgery.
"We'd love for him to play in the next two or three weeks," D'Antoni said. "We'd love for him to play in the next two or three months, but he's got to be 100 percent well."
D'Antoni indicated that even under a best-case scenario, Gallinari could be sidelined for two months.