It started sometime in the hour of three o’clock pm on Thursday when Mike Jones of the Washington Times (@sptswrtrjones) tweeted, “Arenas watched two scrimmages this afternoon. Jogging with a slight hint of a limp.”
My first intuition was to not push the panic button. If Wizards fans are approaching the 2009-10 season as a whole with guarded optimism, then they’re probably guarding optimism surrounding Arenas’ knee more than Avon Barksdale’s crew guards the stash house.
Including reports that Arenas sat out of Wednesday evening’s scrimmages to “rest,” Flip Saunders has maintained that his absence is because he recently aggravated a dislocated finger on his left hand that initially occurred about two weeks ago.
But even an inkling of an issue isn’t a good sign. It’s like just thinking you hear Omar whistling ‘The Farmer in the Dell’ echoing off the bricks in The Pit. Trouble could be a brewing.
(Yes, I realize I’ve amped up The Wire references lately … I started re-watching the whole series starting with season one recently.)
Subsequent Thursday afternoon tweets went as follows:
- @sptswrtrjones: Zero popping mid-range J’s post practice w ease though.
- @sptswrtrjones: Arenas now engaging Foye in 3-point shootout game.
- @MrMichaelLee: Flip Saunders says Arenas’s left finger, not his knee, forced him to sit him out of scrimmages on Wed. and Thurs. I dunno, saw a slight limp
- @BulletsForever: It’s tough to tell if Arenas was limping. More like running gingerly. Maybe a slight limp. Bottom line is, he wasn’t running normally.
- @MrMichaelLee: Saunders said Arenas’s knee is fine, ran thru everything else. “If we had a game he’d play. He’s got no problems at all.”
- @BulletsForever: Flip said Arenas “ran sprints at the end, so he’s had no problems [with the knee].” Let me tell you … Gil definitely wasn’t sprinting.
- @BulletsForever: Just to clarify again … this Arenas thing could easily be nothing, but it’s worth pointing out because of his injury history.
- @MrMichaelLee: Might not be big deal but Arenas isn’t talking. He said, “I’ll see you guys media day of next year.”
What’s to make of all this? Mike and Mike and Mike have more …
After the scrimmage was over, the players each shot free throws to determine how many sprints they’d have to do. Despite making both of his shots — meaning he didn’t have to sprint — Arenas did do some jogging while the others were sprinting full-on. It definitely appeared like he was running a bit gingerly on his left knee, the same one on which he had all the surgeries. -Mike Prada, Bullets Forever
But what of the ginger movements? Arenas was sitting on the scorers table watching the scrimmage when the gym was opened to the media. No ice, no brace. Maybe he had iced it earlier and was just a little cold and stiff as the running was his first movement since? Maybe. Maybe it’s a little sore from five practices in three days? Maybe. Maybe he was just having a little fun? (He did than glance up at the three Mikes after each jog up and down the court.) For now, we must continue to watch and wait. -Mike Jones, Wizards Outlet
Now, Arenas appeared to be moving around fine while engaging in a shooting contest with Randy Foye after practice. So, it really could be no big deal. His personal trainer, Tim Grover, wasn’t around him monitoring his leg or anything. Arenas has toyed with the media before, so he could’ve just been playing around with us to get some attention. Mike Jones of the Washington Times, Mike Prada of Bullets Forever and I noticed how Arenas glanced in our direction every time he completed running up and down the court.
If it is something serious or much ado about nothing, we’ll know soon enough, but that sort of thing cannot be overlooked considering Arenas’s past struggles with his left knee. -Michael Lee, Wizards Insider
Is Arenas up to his old tricks? Just because he claims he’s going to be ‘serious’ (which some of his teammates don’t even believe), doesn’t mean he still won’t mess with people, as he has the propensity to do.
Part of me is skeptical over Arenas sitting out so much because of a finger. Tape that thing up and get on the court so Flip can assess the situation and arrange the various pieces where they need to be.
Another part hopes that Saunders would be a straight shooter with the media and fans when it comes to concerns over Arenas’ knee. The last thing this city needs is a buildup of false sports hope.
Then again, getting over the knee is one thing, Gil doesn’t need any other lingering injuries to deal with … maybe the finger does need rest.
And we must also remember, the observations of the media represent just a small glimpse into an entire day’s practice.
Whatever the case may be, you didn’t think a deadpanning, media-reclusive Arenas would mean that there wouldn’t be any excitement surrounding the Wizards, did you? Maybe just not the excitement you were hoping for.
More From Day Three
Saunders continues to be pleased with the progress his players are making. He did say, however, that he would like to see more improvement in grasping some aspects of the defensive strategies, but said that’s to be expected. “Of course I’ll never be completely satisfied, otherwise I wouldn’t be a coach,” he chuckled.
[Wizards training camp: Day 3 - Wizards Outlet, Washington Times]
Foye has been spending a lot of time handling the ball and looked good in the scrimmage for the second day in a row. Dominic McGuire has been really aggressive defensively, but he turned a few heads with his offensive repertoire on Thursday. He had a nifty baseline drive and reverse layup and also hit a nice turnaround jumper over Jamison.
[Day 3, Final Rundown - Wizards Insider, Washington Post]
Mike Wise raps for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood
- Gilbert Arenas on the Mike Wise Show, 106.7 The Fan [SportsRadioInterviews.com]
- Mike James tries to make the battle for minutes even more complicated [Bullets Forever]
- Time is now for ‘Future Three’: New focus motivates Wizards trio [The Washington Times]
- Abe Pollins to receive D.C. Chamber award [Washington Business Journal]