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News » Frustrated Arenas focusing on younger Wizards


Frustrated Arenas focusing on younger Wizards


Frustrated Arenas focusing on younger Wizards
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gilbert Arenas didn't want to take attention from Washington's healthy players when he declined to talk Friday at the Wizards' media day and drew a fine from the NBA.

On Saturday, the $111 million man tried to mask his frustration over the third surgery on his left knee in 1 1/2 years by working with the team's young players as they opened their training camp at Virginia Commonwealth University.

He also talked.

Arenas, who signed a six-year contract in the offseason, was fined $15,000 by the NBA for declining to make himself available on Friday.

"I felt that training camp, I wasn't going to be involved, playing and going out there practicing, so I shouldn't be grabbing all the spotlight," the All-Star point guard said after the team's two-hour morning workout.

"If I'm sitting here grabbing up all the attention and there's people healthy, that starts to weigh on people, so I figure if I back out of it, let them get the attention, then everything is cool peace," Arenas said.

For the third time in 17 months, Arenas is rehabbing a surgically repaired left knee, and said the odyssey has become ever more tedious. His latest surgery on Sept. 17 was to clean out debris from the first two.

"You show signs of coming back, then doing too much sets you back further, then you've got to get it cleaned up to get the debris out from when you were doing well, and now I'm like, 'When is this ever going to end? When can I just go out there and just play?"' he said.

Arenas wrote on his blog that he expects to be back in December or January, and said he will get back on the floor as soon as he can.

"As soon as I think I can play, I'm going to jump out there," said Arenas, who averages 22.8 points per game. "Sometimes I get criticized for not looking so good when I'm playing, but it's just in my nature. As soon as I think I can play, I'm going to be out on the floor."

Regardless, coach Eddie Jordan said it was good to have the star around, and Arenas didn't let his frustration deter him from making his presence felt, especially as it relates to the Wizards' new players.

"He brought a group over here early and he got them some shooting drills, so it's been good," Jordan said. "He's really into it."

Arenas said the early workout was optional for players like team captain Caron Butler and other veterans, but not for the young guys. He told them he wanted them to get 300 makes in before practice got going.

"I've just got to be a presence because, you know, you're part of the team. Even though you're not playing, you're still a part of the team," he said. "Young guys need guidance and some of the veterans, they're trying to get their thing back. Somebody has to talk to the young guys."

It's a role he has always enjoyed, just not publicly, he said.

"I've been doing that," he said of his leadership, which was apparent during the half-hour that the workout was open to reporters. "I'm always helping the younger players because when I came in, I got help. I don't think I'd be here if the older guys didn't help me at Golden State."

Away from the court, his rehab is going slowly.

"Boring. Oh man, it's so boring," he said. "It feels like kindergarten stuff. Leg lifts, basic squatting, stuff I'm teaching my kids. Just trying to get the range of motion, trying to get the flexibility back."

Taking it slow makes sense, Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said.

"Gil is a young player, a very hard worker," he said. "We're not only looking for the next two or three months, we're looking for the long term. We expect him to come back and be an outstanding player in this league."


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 27, 2008

 

 
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