You remember Gilbert Arenas, right? Funny blogger, Halo enthusiast? Liked Obama so much he got a tattoo? Liked swimming so much he built a million-dollar pool?
Oh yeah, and once upon a time, he also used to play basketball. Yeah, that Gilbert Arenas. He hasn't played a single minute after signing an $111 million contract last summer, but according to the Washington Post, he's back practicing at full speed with the Wizards without any swelling or soreness in his surgically-repaired knee.
"I'm out there feeling like the old Gilbert Arenas again," Arenas said, shortly after Washington practiced at Verizon Center. "I'm running, jumping, dunking, feeling good. No pain, no swelling. My balance is back, my speed is back. The only thing I have to get used to again is being around other bodies out there on the court. I'm working on getting my timing back. The only thing I'm not doing is playing in games."
If he's doing so great, when can we expect him in a game? He still doesn't know. In fact, he still won't commit to returning before the end of the season, saying he "rushed back twice and got hurt again twice." Tom Ziller made a compelling case for Arenas to sit out the year back in December, and considering the Wizards have won fewer than 10 games since then, things haven't changed.
The Wiz are in a highly-contested battle with the Clippers, Kings and Thunder to finish with the worst record in the league -- and the best chance at winning the lottery -- so even in a best-case scenario in which Arenas returns and makes an impact, he's still hurting the team's long-term outlook.
And if the worst-case scenario happens and Arenas tweaks the knee again? Another summer of rehab might drive the guy (completely) insane. Instead, let him take his time, slowly building his confidence while letting insurance (presumably) pick up most of the tab for this year's salary. The Wizards are going to hit the reset button this summer anyway, so they may as well make sure their most expensive player is finally absolutely 100% healthy.
Gilbert Arenas Practices at Full Speed originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Wed, 25 Feb 2009 16:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.