- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas just announced in the locker room that he is shelving himself for the rest of the season — however short or long it may be — because the pinched nerve in the back of his surgically repaired left knee is too painful for him to produce effectively on the court. Eddie Jordan had said after this morning’s shootaround that he wasn’t sure if Arenas would be starting because he was experiencing more “achiness” than usual, but he expected him to play.

But in the locker room tonight during pre-game availability, I noticed the Wizards wearing their blue uniforms instead of the gold and black they wore the first two games up here. I said, “So you scrapped the gold and black, huh?” Gil answered, “They did.” He then took off his blue game shorts and gave his warmup suit to the equipment manager and pulled on some black shorts.

I asked him if he was playing and he said, “Nope. I’m not,” and let out a long sigh. He went on to explain that not only was he out for the game, but for the series if the Wizards even made it to Game 6 on Friday.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

“I tried my best to go out and play and be a part of it. But my leg wasn’t recovering fast enough after each game. Even with missed practices and just playing in games it still wasn’t recovering. This nerve pinch just came out of the blue. The swelling and achiness I can take that. But each step feels like you’re hitting my funny bone.

Eventually that is wearing and tearing. So, it’s back to phase 3: Motion work. Light, light motion work.”

  • On if he wished he never came back:
  • “No, no, no, no. You never second-guess your decision. There are a lot of players that never even played in the postseason, and the team did a great job of getting us here and giving me the opportunity to go out there and play. So I went out there and did everything I could. I came off the bench. I did everything I could to keep this team intact and not interrupt. But at the end of the day when you’re playing five on 4 1/2, you’re interrupting and you need to have five healthy people to win a series.”

  • On the frustration of not being able to take his team past the first round of the playoffs:
  • “That’s the way the cookies crumble. The first time we lost to them I was like, ‘OK, the basketball gods are with them. The chosen one is the chosen one for a reason.’ Then last year, two guys are out and they go to the Eastern Conference Final. This year, with my knee and Caron’s hip it’s like, another year. But as long as you go out and play hard, you give your 100 percent, that’s all you can ask for.” Arenas said he will begin rehabbing tomorrow, but that he won’t do any running or impact work for two months. He said the pinched nerve doesn’t require surgery, just that he has been told that it’s irritated from all the swelling and constant strenuous rehabbing. “No, no, no. I’m not getting cut again. Nerves aren’t like that. Not this one,” he added. So, it’s back to the way it was for much of the season. Antonio Daniels and Roger Mason will see more increased minutes, which could help the Wizards find their rhythm sooner. If you’ll remember, they’d get their rhythm, Gil would come in and the offense would stop clicking. “We’ve prepared ourselves through the course of 69 games and I think we’ve performed very well without Gilbert. We’re a different team with Gil. We’re very explosive. He adds another dimension to us. But we’re ready to go without him if he can’t — if he has to shut it down.” Eddie said he didn’t find out that Gil had shelved himself until he was told that the guard was breaking the news to reporters in the locker room. “Is anyone shocked?” Eddie added.

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