Arenas could return Saturday

Updated: March 23, 2009, 7:14 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Agent Zero's comeback day is Saturday. Definitely. Perhaps. Maybe. Depending on whom you ask.

Arenas
Arenas

Gilbert Arenas used a variety of means Monday to indicate that he could make his season debut for the Washington Wizards this weekend against the Detroit Pistons.

"I'm playing Saturday against Detroit," he said in a text message sent to Comcast SportsNet.

Asked if it was really so, the three-time All-Star told a Washington Post reporter at the Verizon Center: "It's only true if I play on Saturday."

Arenas then told The Washington Times by phone that playing Saturday is "the plan" -- but isn't set in stone.

Arenas took a fourth approaching -- playing coy -- when approached by The Associated Press before Monday night's game against the Chicago Bulls: "Everybody's talking about Saturday, man. I don't know how you can talk about Saturday when it ain't here."

Somewhere in the middle was interim coach Ed Tapscott, who could only say that it's a "possibility" that Arenas will play Saturday. Scooped by his own player, Tapscott said he's only had a brief conversion with the mercurial star about the latest developments.

"It's wonderful that he wants to come back and play," Tapscott said. "And what we all have to do now is get together and coordinate plans and make sure that all the responsible parties weigh in so that we can do this in a way that is beneficial to everybody. That's the process we're going through now. We're hopeful that we'll have all our ducks in a line so that that will be a reality. We're not yet 100 percent sure."

Tapscott went on to say that Arenas' return needs to be "a very logical, reasonable, step-by-step process" -- as if anything has ever been logical or reasonable involving a player who has operated on his own timetable for much of his career.

Arenas signed a six-year, $111 million contract last summer, but surgery on his left knee in September -- his third in an 18-month span -- has kept him sidelined. He rushed himself back from the first two operations and has said he's determined not to repeat that mistake -- especially with the Wizards mired in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Arenas began practicing full speed with the team last month, but he did not travel on the four-games-in-five-days road trip that ended Saturday. This week there are three off days during a homestand to get some final work in before his debut.

"I think he can do pretty much whatever we want now," Tapscott said. "The biggest problem is we haven't had very many practices, because we've been playing. So we will have at least two this week, so that'll give us additional opportunities to evaluate."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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