Arenas will miss first month of season

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Apparently the knee issues aren’t over for Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas.

The three-time All-Star said Wednesday afternoon that just hours earlier he had his surgically repaired left knee scoped because lingering debris has prevented him from returning to 100 percent performance. Arenas said he will miss all of training camp, which runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 in Richmond, and that he likely won’t play at all during the first month of the 2008-09 season.

Arenas, who has signed a six-year $111 million contract in the summer, said having arthoscopic surgery came as no surprise. After missing all but 13 games last season, Arenas shelved himself before Game 5 of the Wizards’ playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers because of lingering pain and discomfort in the knee. He said doctors told him shortly thereafter that the cause for the pain was debris floating around in the knee that had been operated on twice since Arenas tore his ACL in April of 2007.

Arenas said Wednesday that he was told the debris “maybe would wash away by itself” with time and rest, so he didn’t run or do any basketball-related activity until August. But when he tried to resume a full workload, the pain returned.

Arenas said he doesn’t view the scoping of his knee as a setback.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “I wasn’t planning on playing until January anyway. Everybody has known I was gonna miss training camp.”

Arenas said he hadn’t informed Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld or coach Eddie Jordan of Wednesday morning’s surgery, but didn’t believe it was an issue.

“This was my decision,” Arenas said. “I probably could’ve gotten by without it, until June, but if I went to do something spectacular, it probably would have buckled under on me.

“Two nights ago I talked with the trainer, and they were telling me if I just got it cleaned out I’d probably be back in two or three months, or maybe even faster because I can rehab without the pain. So, then I was like, let’s get it cleaned out.”

The team issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that team physician Marc Connell had performed “an arthoscopic lavage” at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District.

“After Arenas’ normal course of rehabilitation was ramped up, he experienced some swelling and discomfort in his knee, Connell stated in the press release.

“A subsequent MRI showed that the knee is structurally sound. The decision was made to perform an arthroscopic lavage procedure, during which a moderate amount of debris was removed after saline solution was washed through the knee. The presence of debris is common with the nature of his previous injury. This was a proactive procedure that will enhance his rehabilitation process,” it continued.

In the statement, Grunfeld said: “Gilbert had worked extremely hard over the summer and we know how much hes looking forward to returning to help the team. However, our team proven its resiliency in dealing with injuries in the past and were approaching the start of training camp with confidence that they will once again compete at a high level until Gilbert’s return.”

The Wizards last season finished fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 43-39 record. Arenas averaged 19.4 points and 5.1 assists in his 13 games.

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