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Injured Arenas won't participate with U.S. national team

WASHINGTON -- Gilbert Arenas is injured. Gilbertology lives
on.

The Washington Wizards' point guard spoke with reporters
Saturday for the first time since injuring his knee April 4. He
made one bit of news -- ruling himself out for the U.S. national
team's qualifying games this summer -- but otherwise displayed the
offbeat humor that helped take his stardom to another level this
season.

"Y'all have been waiting for a big announcement, huh?" Arenas
said before tip-off of Game 3 of the Wizards' first-round series
against Cleveland. "I am retiring."

Not really, of course, but he said doctors have told him he
won't be 100 percent until August. Arenas tore the lateral meniscus
in his left knee against Charlotte and had surgery the next day. He
was one of the final cuts last year for the U.S. team at the world
championships, but this year national duty isn't a priority.

"So far I'm ruling everything out -- trips, vacation," Arenas
said. "I'm ruling them all out until I'm 100 percent because the
Wizards come first."

Arenas said he's stayed away from the spotlight since the injury
because he was more or less feeling sorry for himself. The gym rat
has been reduced to doing calf exercises and shooting from a
standstill, a far cry from the expectations surrounding the Wizards
in January when they were vying for first place in the Eastern
Conference -- with fans chanting "M-V-P!" every time Arenas had a
big game.

"I can't run. I can barely walk," Arenas said. "But it gives
me a chance to think about the next step. I started off well this
year and it was going to be hard to top it going into next season,
but I have a chance now."

In fact, the only reason Arenas was talking Saturday was because
of a video game. Arenas is a self-proclaimed video game addict, and
he's ecstatic that he'll be on the cover of EA Sports NBA Live '08,
to be released in October.

"Man, this is wonderful," Arenas said. "Coming from where I
am, second-round pick, I had to fight all my career, and now I made
the cover of a video game. In high school they said I was most
likely to be on a Wheaties box. I'll take the cover of a video
game."

Watching the Wizards, though, has been frustrating. Without
All-Stars Arenas and Caron Butler (hand), Washington dropped to the
No. 7 seed for the playoffs and lost the first two games of their
series against the Cavaliers.

"We were one of the best teams at one point, and a lot of teams
are scared of us," Arenas said. "A lot of teams are going to be
scared of us next year, too, when we're all healthy."