Arenas anxious to play but Wizards won't clear All-Star
WASHINGTON -- An unhappy Gilbert Arenas learned Sunday night that he had not been cleared to play by Washington Wizards team doctors, dashing his hopes of returning in the nationally televised game against the Detroit Pistons -- or anytime soon.
Arenas took part in the shootaround Sunday morning and was so confident that he would be in uniform against the Pistons that he didn't bring proper attire to sit on the bench as an injured player.
As he exited the locker room about an hour before the game, Arenas told reporters: "Y'all don't have to write any more. I'm not coming back this year." But he reappeared during the first half of the game, wearing a tan sport coat as he took his seat on the bench.
"It's still about the team," Arenas told an ESPN courtside reporter during the game. "Even though I wasn't going to play, I still have to come back and support them."
Arenas said his surgically repaired left knee feels fine.
"I was ready," Arenas said. "But they went out there with a fishing pole and yanked me back."
Coach Eddie Jordan said the three-time All-Star point guard's return probably won't come for another week at the earliest.
"He wants to test his whole body in an NBA game, and the doctors said he's not ready and it's good for all parties to wait and see once another week has gone by to see where he is," Jordan said.
Asked if Arenas will play again this season, Jordan said: "There's always a chance. There's always been a chance. ... He's getting better."
Arenas first had surgery on his knee last April, rushed his rehabilitation and needed surgery again in November after playing in the first eight games of the season. He has been practicing with the team for nearly three weeks.
"Gil's been anxious to play ever since he got on the court and started doing some basketball rehab instead of just training room rehab," Jordan said. "We've all heard it now for three weeks that he's been anxious to play, he's been predicting to play, and he's close."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press