Arenas Sidelined By Injury
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas suffered a strained groin during practice with the United States national team yesterday and will miss the upcoming world championship in Japan.
In four of Team USA's pre-tournament tuneup games, Arenas made one start and averaged 3.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 11 minutes. The two-time NBA all-star was battling for playing time at point guard with Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets and Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls and may not have been among the 12 players selected for the world championship even if he was healthy.
Arenas played only six minutes in a 111-88 win over Lithuania on Sunday while Paul and Hinrich shared the bulk of ballhandling duties. Arenas's injury virtually ensures that Wizards teammate Antawn Jamison will make the roster.
Jamison is one of 13 remaining finalists and one more player must be trimmed from the roster before Team USA opens play Friday against Puerto Rico in Sapporo, Japan. The list also includes Paul and Hinrich, Carmelo Anthony, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, Bruce Bowen, Elton Brand, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Brad Miller and Dwyane Wade.
Jamison, who averaged 10.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting a sizzling 57.7 percent in four pre-tournament games, could make the roster because Coach Mike Krzyzewski is expected to cut either Bowen or Battier. According to a report in Monday's San Antonio Express-News, Krzyzewski is expected to cut Bowen, who played a team-low 27 minutes in four games.
Team USA plays its final pre-tournament game today against South Korea.
Arenas, who was bothered by groin and lower back soreness at times last season, will have plenty of time to take care of the injury before the Wizards open training camp in the first week of October. The team opens the preseason Oct. 9 against Toronto at Verizon Center and opens the regular season Nov. 1 at Cleveland.
"It's an unfortunate situation, but he is not going to be able to continue," national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "We're concerned because he has had a history regarding groin pulls. This is a precautionary move, but it is important that he return home and get treatment."
Arenas and the other players who are not a part of the 12-man roster for the world championship will still be a part of the national team program and will be eligible to play in future competitions, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"When he returns to Washington, our doctors will evaluate his condition," Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. "It is our understanding from Team USA officials that Gilbert's injury is not serious."