By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Gilbert Arenas had played 17 games since his collision with Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace two seasons ago led to a torn medial collateral ligament that has resulted in three left knee surgeries. But before Arenas made his return last night, he was reflecting more on the memory of the initial injury than when he last played, on April 27 of last season.
Before he stepped on the floor for the first time in nearly 11 months, Arenas contemplated wearing the same model of sneakers he wore on April 4, 2007, when Wallace crashed into his leg. Arenas wanted to treat his return as a new beginning. He had a pair of Gil Zeros by his locker, but changed his mind. "I decided this is a new day," Arenas said.
While Arenas has that moment stitched permanently into his memory, Wallace, the man who accidentally knocked him out, said this week that he has no recollection of it.
"I didn't even know," Wallace said, when asked about Arenas. In Wallace's defense, he has a reputation for reckless play, which has resulted in concussions. "I'm colliding with somebody every night. So, I don't know," he said with a shrug.
Last night, the Wizards also got back forward Caron Butler, who had missed the past six games with a strained left hamstring. But the Wizards lost guard Mike James for the season when he broke his right pinkie during a light drill in practice on Friday. James wore a cast on his shooting hand last night.
"I've never had a broken bone before and I've never been injured in my career," James said. "For me to have this, I always thought I was like Wolverine from the X-Men. All my bruises heal. Now, I'm like nah, uh-uh."