WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas is optimistic he will play in Sunday's Game 4 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, although the latest setback with his knee means his role could be more limited.
Arenas started and played only 10 minutes in Washington's Game 3 victory Thursday night. He limped off the court in the second quarter and did not return.
The three-time All-Star revealed Friday he missed two days of practice before Game 3, and an MRI exam taken before the game revealed that his surgically repaired left knee has a bone bruise and a pinched nerve.
"I knew I wasn't going to play more than 10, 15 minutes," Arenas said. "While I was out there, I was just trying to energize the crowd, get everybody excited about being home and get some people involved until my time was up."
Arenas said he started the game -- his first start since returning from surgery earlier this month -- because the knee stiffens up when he sits on the bench. He tried to keep the knee warm by riding an exercise bike when he wasn't in the game during the first half.
Arenas expects to have a similar role in Sunday's game.
"Once I go out, then it's a question of if I can come back in," Arenas said.
Arenas said doctors have told him he is not in danger of damaging the knee further by playing on it. He said he could take a shot to numb the knee, but he's "scared" of the needle.
"If we were on the road, I'd take the numbing shot and just play through it," Arenas said. "But since we're at home, guys' confidences are higher, so I can risk just going out there for 10, 15 minutes. If the game gets close, then I'll just play through the pain."
Coach Eddie Jordan said Arenas' return gave the team a spark as the Wizards cut Cleveland's series lead to 2-1.
"I thought it meant a lot. He got us out on the break. He did some good things," Jordan said. "He was like Willis Reed in reverse. We saw him walking out limping instead of walking in."