Following practice today, team president Ernie Grunfeld gave a brief interview on the state of the team. Like the Wizards‘ coaches and players, he’s growing anxious for a win, but he’s far from hitting the panic button, and he isn’t on the verge of shipping people out of here. Here’s what he had to say:
“We’ve been in this situation before — not saying we want to be in it again — but we fought our way through it and the only way to get it out of this is to continue to compete, continue to fight, continue to play hard and good things will happen.
“Obviously we haven’t played as well as we would have liked to play, but some of our players have played better than expected up to this point, so you have to feel good about that, but basketball’s a team game and you need contributions from all your players, and we’re not getting that right now.
“We’re always looking to improve the team if we can, but we believe in these guys, these guys have gotten us what we’ve done in the past and we think if we play hard, stay aggressive that good things can come from this group.”
I also checked in with Gilbert Arenas today, and he’s doing well, and still ahead of schedule, he says.
He has been shooting around in the later portions of recent practices and one day last week jumped and nearly dunked the ball three or four times, jumping off of his right foot, and right foot only. He touched the rim each time, but didn’t quite have the height to dunk, but instead laid the ball in.
Today, he said: “If this was eight games before the playoffs, and i had to play, I’d be playing. I’m at the same spot where I was last year when I came back that Milwaukee game. So, if I had to, had to play, I would just do it. I don’t know if it would hold up or not, though.”
That left leg still has a good deal of strengthening left to do. His left calf is slightly smaller than the right, but Gil said his left quad is a lot smaller than its counterpart. He hasn’t begun doing any weight training with his left leg, but instead has been training with resistance bands. He believes, however, that by the end of the week he could be to the point where he has met the trainer’s requirements for him to move on to weight training.
One of the things that was such a roadblock last season was that tingling pain in the knee. It remained up until that third surgery in September, but is now completely gone, Agent Zero said.
He actually played guard Nick Young one-on-one and beat him by one point last week.
“He was so embarrassed,” Arenas said. “See the last time he saw me do anything, I was limping around last year in the playoffs. So he was expecting that. But I broke the mess out on him. I told him I couldn’t do that any more, though. I just needed to do it to see where I’m at.”
Gil said a return date still hasn’t been set and that his clearance is completely in the hands of the team’s medical staff.