Derrick Rose was back for merely a handful of games this season before he tore meniscus in the knee opposite his surgically repaired one. A full season after ACL Surgery. This was after it took him a complete season to recover from his ACL/Meniscus tear injury he suffered in the playoffs. Russell Westbrook tore meniscus in his knee in last season’s playoffs, came back for a time this year, then was back on the DL, recovering from issues related to his repaired knee.

That is hard not to think about.

In an interview given to La Gazzetta Dello Sport (Italian publication) Danilo Gallinari admits to struggles with the mental aspect of returning from major reconstructive knee surgery.

"I got over the most boring part, by now. The muscle tone is back, in the gym I lift weights I never lifted before. I work with the ball and changes of direction. Let's say I still have to work on the mental part, the most important one. Because it's inevitable to think about my knee – Said Gallo, who added – I haven't set a date for the comeback. It's a decision we will take further on. Hypothesis to miss this season? Everything can happen. It's an idea that passed through my mind. But then, maybe, I get back before".

Translation courtesy of Sportando, another Italian sport website.

This is something that every athlete who goes through major surgery has to deal with when in recovery. The question is can he work on that mental aspect and play this season? He admits to thinking about it in this translation. First time.

However, it's also important to point out that Gallo is telling us he has begun to "work with the ball and changes of direction" which is one of the final elements you must work on in order to get back on to the court. That is good news. Having watched Gallo at practice, and again in the many videos he has released on his facebook page – you know he is working very hard at coming back.

The mental thing? That's by far the hardest part of recovery. No one can tell you NOT to think about re-injuring your knee. Particularly when two very famous documented and publicized players have suffered complications (Westbrook) or rebound injuries (Rose).

Gallo is essentially admitting to being human. It's up to him now to overcome the fear of reinjury and come back. When? That's up to Gallo. Remember, how he ended that paragraph "But then, maybe, I get back before".

Nuggets fans can only hope

(hat tip to Roundball Mining Company who saw this before everyone else)