Arenas Return Still on Hold

Antonio Daniels, left, and Gilbert Arenas had plenty of time to chat recently due to injuries. Daniels has returned.
Antonio Daniels, left, and Gilbert Arenas had plenty of time to chat recently due to injuries. Daniels has returned. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 6, 2008

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas said yesterday that he has no firm timetable for his return from surgery in his left knee.

Arenas, who last played on Nov. 16, underwent surgery on Nov. 21. If his rehabilitation goes well, it's possible he could be back on the court anytime between mid-February and mid-March, which would be just in time to help the Wizards (16-15) in their push to the playoffs.

"It all depends on how I feel," Arenas said yesterday after watching his teammates go through a light practice at Verizon Center. "I have to protect the rest of my career, too, so I won't jeopardize that for just 15 games if I'm not 100 percent. If it's aching, if I'm out here practicing and it's swelling up then, I'll see you next year."

It was the first time Arenas -- who turns 26 today -- has discussed his condition since immediately after undergoing the surgery in November. He is being more cautious about this comeback compared with the one he made this summer after having surgery to repair torn meniscus in the same knee on April 4.

Once doctors cleared him to train this summer, Arenas attacked his rehabilitation aggressively and feels that he may have overworked the knee with marathon shooting sessions and pickup games.

The November surgery repaired the same left meniscus, but Marc Connell also performed microfracture surgery on a non-weight-bearing bone on the side of the knee.

That particular procedure was not as serious as the microfracture surgeries performed on other NBA stars like Jason Kidd and Amare Stoudemire in recent years, and Arenas said the knee is feeling far better now than it did in the first weeks and months following the original surgery last April.

"That one took five months to heal," Arenas said. "With this one, after I got my surgery, I was able to bend it right away. With the first one, I couldn't bend it for two months. I know y'all saw me on crutches after this surgery but I could've been walking the first week after the surgery but they told me not to."

Arenas also indicated that he might base his decision about his return on how the team is performing. The Wizards improved to 13-10 without Arenas with a 101-77 win at Milwaukee on Friday night and are squarely in the mix for the playoff hunt. Entering yesterday's games, the Wizards had the fourth-best winning percentage in the Eastern Conference, behind Boston, Detroit and Orlando.

"If we have a chance to go far with me playing in the playoffs, then I'll say yeah," Arenas said. "If not, then, I'll shut it down and just rehab."

Wizards Notes: It appears that guard Antonio Daniels, who recently returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a sprained ligament in his right knee, tweaked his knee late in Friday's game. But he worked out yesterday and will be in the lineup today against Seattle.

In his first two games back, Daniels scored a season-high 18 points in a loss to Detroit and finished with 14 points and five assists in Friday's win at Milwaukee. . . .

In the past five games, Antawn Jamison is averaging 22.6 and 10.2 rebounds. Also, Jamison has posted 20 double-doubles this season. Through 31 games last season, he had nine double-doubles.

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