- The Washington Times - Friday, September 19, 2008

It is almost obligatory to question the collective wisdom of Abe Pollin and Ernie Grunfeld in re-signing a one-legged basketball player to a $111 million contract.

At least that is one strain of thinking lurking in cyberspace after Gilbert Arenas underwent the third surgical procedure on his left knee in 17 months.

Hindsight, of course, is a flawless measuring instrument.

Things always look perfectly clear after the fact.

But let’s go back to July 1, when Arenas became an unrestricted free agent. Let’s imagine Arenas bolting to another team after Pollin and Grunfeld refuse to add enough zeroes to his contract.

Pollin, in particular, would have been criticized yet anew for putting financial considerations ahead of fielding a competitive team.

It would have been pointed out, and justifiably so, that all kinds of players return to their previous level of excellence after undergoing knee surgery and that any concern regarding the long-term health of Arenas was merely a pretext to save money.

And that assessment would have been fair.

This is not to suggest that news of Arenas’ latest surgery is unimportant.

It is a significant setback and leaves the franchise in limbo yet again.

The return of Arenas has been pushed back to December, which is hardly reassuring.

It is not as if he will be ready to drop 30 points on the opposition the moment he steps onto the floor. He will not be in game shape in December. He will not have his shooting rhythm. And there is no reason to believe at this point that he somehow will merrily pass his first back-to-back test on the schedule.

Yet both Grunfeld and Arenas are putting a happy face on the surgery, as if it were expected, routine, no different from brushing and flossing your teeth each morning.

They are facing yet another period of uncertainty and end up channeling the movie character Chance the Gardener in “Being There.”

Both Grunfeld and Arenas insist that “as long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.”

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