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Knicks' Gallinari to have back surgery Tuesday

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Knicks announced Friday that Danilo Gallinari will have surgery Tuesday on his aching back at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The procedure, which is called a laminotomy, will be performed by orthopedic spine specialist Dr. Patrick O'Leary. The Knicks also have invited an Italian neurosurgeon to observe the operation.

A laminotomy is a minimally invasive operation on the lower spine that relieves pressure on one or more nerve roots. Gallinari's recovery timetable is roughly six to eight weeks, and he said that after he has the operation, he'll probably be limited for the first 15 days before he can begin rehabilitation.

Gallinari had been contemplating surgery for the past two weeks after visiting with four back specialists - including three in his native Italy - to gauge the best way to alleviate his back discomfort caused by a bulging disc. All the strength and conditioning exercises previously prescribed weren't really working, further frustrating Gallinari.

"For eight months, we've tried everything, and the last thing that we didn't try was the surgery," said Gallinari, who hit a team-best 44.4 percent of his three-point attempts and averaged 6.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in roughly 15 minutes per game. "So that's one of the reasons why we are going to do surgery."

Gallinari said he's confident the operation will correct the problem. He's never been the same since he was first injured in a collision with Robert "Tractor" Traylor in a Las Vegas summer league game in July. Although he visited with three specialists in November, Gallinari said surgery wasn't talked about until recently.

"He's ready," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He's looking forward to it. He wants to get rid of the pain and start his rehabilitation process. He knows he can play and he just wants to get [back] his body and get back his athleticism, which he has. And he's looking forward to next year."

Gallinari isn't sure if he'll play in the summer league again come July. His main focus is prepping for an increased role next season by strengthening his back.

"It's been eight long months playing and going through the pain," Gallinari said. "So I cannot wait to feel like I used to feel some months ago."

Notes & quotes: Larry Hughes (sprained right ankle) sat out practice and might play Saturday against the Raptors at the Garden, although it's more likely he'll play Sunday in Toronto . . . Eddy Curry (sore left knee) didn't practice; it's not known when he will be available . . . Quentin Richardson (sprained left ankle) returned to practice and should play.

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