Gilbert's Knee: A History of Misplaced Optimism
"Why's everybody tripping out?" Gilbert Arenas asked Mike Wise yesterday. "Big picture, if I start rehabbing now and get through the pain that prevented me from running or jumping this summer, I'll be back on the court sooner," he said. "How's that a bad thing?"
Well, the reason everybody's tripping is because we've heard such reassurances before, and they've been consistently, wildly, depressingly wrong every time. That's why I'm getting lengthy e-mailed manifestos about the history of Gilbert's knee from Wiz fans, whose heads this morning feel like they're filled with loose debris. A brief history of the misplaced optimism inspired by that wackest of joints.
April 5, 2007: "Gilbert will approach his rehab regimen with the same work ethic that has made him one of the league's most outstanding performers. We expect him to make a full recovery." (Ernie Grunfeld, in a team release after Gil's first injury)
April 12, 2007: "I'm actually already starting rehab. The swelling went down, the pain is out, so I'm ready....It would have been a quicker recovery but I have a sprained ligament that needs to heal, that's the only thing they're worried about because if that doesn't heal then it will be a lingering ordeal down the road. They're trying to be very careful, that's why they said eight to 12 weeks because this injury is usually three to four." (Gilbert, in his blog)
April 28, 2007: "I have a long summer, I'm not going on vacation this summer. We'll stay here and make sure this knee is 100 percent. I'm going to come back stronger than I was last year. Faster. I have to work at it." (Gilbert, at a press conference about his EA cover spot)
May 10, 2007: "I've just been working on my leg. I'm past Stage 1 faster than a lot of people thought I would be. Usually when you get a knee injury you try to get the lag out of your leg....Sometimes that takes months, and I got my lag out already." (Gilbert, in his blog)
Oct. 27, 2007: "Physically, I'm right where I want to be. I just need to go in there and get some more shots up and tweak some things a little bit. I need to sharpen up my game these next three days." (Gilbert, to reporters)
Oct. 30, 2007: "I'm at about 92 percent. Maybe 90 percent. That's good enough for me right now. Once you get your knee drained it takes a while for it to effectively heal. I'm ready to go." (Gilbert, in his blog)
Nov. 7, 2007: "There's no red flags. He just has to keep getting through his therapy, his rehab, and getting some rest when he can." (Eddie Jordan)
Nov. 23, 2007: "We expect Gilbert to make a full recovery." (Ernie Grunfeld, after Gilbert's second surgery.)
Feb. 19, 2008: Arenas has set the March 2 game against New Orleans as a possible target date for his return. That would give him 24 games before the conclusion of the regular season. "That gives me enough time get my legs and get my wind," Arenas said. "But it might be before that or it might be after that, we'll just have to see. (Ivan Carter, in The Post)
March 20, 2008: "I'll be back way before the playoffs. Hopefully, within this week I'll be playing or maybe on the West Coast road trip." (Gilbert, to reporters. He wound up missing both the rest of the week and the West Coast trip.)
April 30, 2008: "We just have to go back and start rehabbing it again and get ready for next season." (Gilbert, to reporters after announcing he was ending his season)
May 4, 2008: "I'll be full speed by October...I'm going to take my time and prepare for next season. I'm going to be smart about it this year. I'm going to have five or six months to get this thing strong again and ready to go again." (Gilbert, to reporters)
June 1, 2008: ""Everything feels good now. I have to get it strong this month." (Gilbert, in a text message to Ivan Carter)
July 14, 2008: "My knee feels good. It got a little sore on the airplane from the altitude up and down, but now it feels fine. I finally gave it some time off. I'm just getting ready to get back." (Gilbert, in his blog)
And then yesterday happened. This is why, even when Gilbert tells Ivan Carter yesterday that this "really isn't that big of a deal," people are still tripping out.
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