- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An MRI yesterday on the surgically repaired left knee of Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas revealed no new damage, but the team still does not have a timetable for his return.

Arenas, sidelined since undergoing surgery on Nov. 21, hoped to play tomorrow night in Orlando, but it remains unlikely he’ll play this week.

“They said everything is healing, and they want me to ramp it back up and actually go full speed [in practice],” he said before last night’s game against Atlanta at Verizon Center. “I’m about to test it out on the practice court and give it a hard workout and see how it feels.”

Arenas’ comments covered the entire spectrum.

Asked whether he’ll play at all this season, he said: “I don’t know. I’m hoping. I do want to play.”

Asked whether he could play tomorrow night, he said: “I don’t know, to be honest. They want me to ramp up just to see. One [doctor] said give it a 12-day ramp up. … If there’s no harm for 12 days, we’ll see how it reacts.”

Asked to clarify whether the 12-day ramp up means he’s out another two weeks, he said: “Every game is 50-50, to be honest, depending on how I feel that night. I asked [the doctor] if I could ramp it up in a game and he said, ‘Let’s work it out in practice first.’ ”

Arenas said he’ll have to change his style of play when he does return.

“This year, they told me ‘Don’t come back trying to be me,’ ” he said. “They said come back and be an assist man and stay away from going to the hole and be careful. That’s basically what I do in practice.”

Said coach Eddie Jordan: “We’re taking it as a process. Once he’s assured and the doctors are assured that he’s ready to go and compete in an NBA game, that’s when we’ll go with Gil in an NBA game.”

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