Arenas returns to starting lineup for Game 3, leaves with knee injury
WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, starting for the first time since November, left the game after injuring his surgically repaired knee in the first half Thursday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Arenas walked off the court late in the first half of the Wizards' 108-72 victory with an obvious limp. He has a bone bruise and possibly a pinched nerve in his left knee and is listed as day-to-day.
Coach Eddie Jordan said Arenas will have therapy on the knee. The coach sounded optimistic that the three-time All-Star would play in Game 4 of the series on Sunday.
"I think he's going to be OK for Sunday," Jordan said.
Arenas had not started since Nov. 16, his last game before having a second surgery on the knee. He missed 66 straight games and had been used as a reserve since returning late in the regular season.
Arenas was on the starting lineup sheet made available about 30 minutes before tip-off. A few minutes earlier, Jordan said Antonio Daniels would be starting at point guard but left open the possibility of a last-minute switch, possibly to spark a team that was down 0-2 in the first-round playoff series.
"It has to be the right time and at the right place, so is this the right time and right place?" Jordan said. "It still could be an 11th hour adjustment, but right now Antonio's starting."
Arenas scored 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting in Game 1, but he labored in Game 2, scoring seven points on 2-for-10 shooting in the Wizards' 30-point loss. In 10 minutes in Game 3, Arenas scored two points and had three assists. He rode an exercise bike in one of the tunnels in between his two stints in the game.
Arenas wasn't the only change for Game 3. Several Wizards had spent some time with the barber.
"It's a little something I pulled out of the archives right there," said Butler, who, like most of his teammates, has been struggling with his shot. "I want to go with the '80s theme, so I put 'Tough Juice' on the back. It'll help my rhythm out. It ain't been there, so I'm trying to get it lined back up."
Even Jordan had a colorful comment when asked about his message over the last couple of days. He said the theme was "trust and discipline" and called himself the "enforcer" of the discipline.
The mild-mannered Jordan? An enforcer?
"In a general, passive sense, yes," said.
But "passive" and "enforcer" don't seem to go together.
"Well, it can. It's sort of a Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King sort of thing," Jordan said with a chuckle. "Nonviolent protest."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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