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."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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