By Jonas Terrado
NBA player Danilo Gallinari is likely to miss all exhibition games of Italy before opening its FIBA World Cup campaign against Gilas Pilipinas on Aug. 31 in Foshan, China.
US and European media reports said Gallinari underwent appendectomy last week and had missed Italy’s three matches against Senegal, Russia and Venezuela in the recent Verona Basketball Cup.
Gallinari is also expected to be out for the Azzurri’s second match against Venezuela in Rome and the Acropolis Tournament in Athens opposite host Greece, Serbia and Turkey.
The 31-year-old, traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the deal that sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, was listed in the 15-man roster of Italy for the Greek tourney.
Notables include Marco Bellineli of the San Antonio Spurs, naturalized player Jeff Brooks and ex-NBA cager Luigi Datome.
Meanwhile, the Italian Basketball Federation announced that center Nicolo Melli will miss the World Cup due to a knee injury.
Melli stands 6-foot-9 and recently signed an NBA contract to play for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Gilas is aiming to score a win over the fancied Italians and boost its chances of securing qualification to the second round of the World Cup.
The Philippines needs a top two finish in Group D also composed of Serbia and Angola in order to reach the next phase.