Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari appeared to suffer a serious injury to his left knee Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Gallinari's left knee buckled inward as he drove to the basket for a layup in the first half. He gave up the ball, grabbed his knee and hopped to the sideline, where he sat down, writhing in pain as Darren Collison scored at the other end for Dallas.
Gallinari was helped off the court by reserves Timofey Mozgov and Quincy Miller. After a few halting steps, he was seated in a wheelchair and taken to the locker room for evaluation.
The team didn't have any immediate word on the extent of his injury, saying only that he was scheduled for an MRI on Friday.
Gallinari is the Nuggets' second-leading scorer at 16.3 points per game. Their top scorer, Ty Lawson (16.7) is out indefinitely with a tear in his bruised right heel.
The Nuggets entered the game third in the Western Conference in their quest for home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs, a task that will be a whole lot harder without Gallinari.
The Mavericks were in a tight race with the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot.