Arenas Has Third Knee Surgery

The Wizards' $111 Million Man Says He's Out Until December

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 18, 2008; Page E01

For the second straight year, the Washington Wizards will enter a season unsure about the health of three-time all-star guard Gilbert Arenas.

Arenas, who signed a six-year, $111 million contract in July, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee yesterday morning and said he expects to miss training camp, the preseason and at least the first month of the regular season.

It was the third surgical procedure performed on the knee since Arenas went down with a torn left meniscus following a collision with Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace on April 4, 2007.

The Wizards open training camp Sept. 27 and open the regular season Oct. 29 at Verizon Center against the New Jersey Nets.

Arenas recently increased the intensity of his rehabilitation workouts but experienced discomfort in the knee area and the decision was made to have him undergo yesterday's procedure following a meeting with team doctors on Tuesday.

"It really isn't that big of a deal, I was expecting to be out for a few more months anyway," Arenas said. "I just had some floating debris in there that was slowing me down. It was irritating the knee so we decided to go in there and clean it out. This should actually allow me to come back faster."

Arenas said he will be cleared to resume rehabilitation immediately and plans on continuing to work his way back into basketball condition. Exactly when that will be is a mystery.

"It just depends on when the knee feels right again," Arenas said. "We all want to make sure that everything is the way it should be before I go out there again and push it. I want to be my old self again and I plan on getting there."

While Arenas is pointing toward early December as a possible time frame for a return to game action, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld repeatedly stated that the team has established no such schedule and said he expects the Wizards to remain competitive until Arenas returns.

"I don't know that it is a setback; we have a lot of guys with a lot of pride and they are very, very competitive," Grunfeld said. "Obviously we all wanted Gilbert with the team but we didn't know if he was going to be ready for training camp anyway. So there's really no time frame on it. It all depends on how his rehab goes."

After undergoing season-ending surgery on April 5, 2007, and a summer of intense rehabilitation, Arenas returned in time for the opening of training camp last season and was in the starting lineup for the first eight regular season games.

However, he was hampered by constant soreness and stiffness in the knee joint and was forced to undergo a second surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear and an articular surface defect in November.

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