Thunder's Danilo Gallinari Undergoes Appendectomy Ahead of 2019 FIBA World Cup

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 26: Danilo Gallinari #8 of the LA Clippers handles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during Game Six of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari is undergoing an appendectomy and will be out of action until Aug. 12 at the earliest, the Italian Basketball Federation announced on Sunday (h/t Eurohoops.net).

He is still expected to represent Italy at the FIBA World Cup this summer, however.

The 30-year-old Gallinari is Italy's top star, joining NBA veteran Marco Belinelli on the squad to give the Italians a solid one-two punch.

The former No. 6 overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 2008 NBA draft has also played for the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers in his career. He was sent to the Thunder this offseason alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a bounty of draft considerations in the Paul George trade that facilitated Kawhi Leonard's signing with the Clippers and shook up the NBA landscape. 

The veteran forward appeared in 68 games for the Clippers this past season, averaging career highs in points (19.8 PPG) and rebounds (6.1 RPG). He shot 46.3 percent from the field, 43.3 percent from three and 90.4 percent from the free-throw line. 

His ability to hit shots from the perimeter makes him the ideal modern stretch-4, though he's also capable of playing at the 3. He'll undoubtedly be the focal point for Italy at the FIBA World Cup, a tournament that suddenly appears to be wide open given the spate of United States superstars that are skipping

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris and Paul Millsap have all withdrawn from consideration. 

"Don't judge a book by its cover," USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said of the country's current roster, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. "Out of this—I don't want to call it adversity—out of these circumstances comes opportunity for the young guys. Some young guys who I think are ready to bust out."

For Italy and other nations vying to win the World Cup, however, the United States is as vulnerable as it ever will be.