Ed Tapscott on Arenas: "Engaged Fully"
Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott addressed the media after the team's morning shoot-around this morning. Of the first 12 questions, 11 concerned Gilbert Arenas, a man who has played exactly zero minutes for Tapscott in his career. Hey, give the people what they want.
Here's the full transcript of Tapscott's remarks, for what it's worth.
Gil definitely not playing tonight?
No, not gonna go tonight. Again, we've had so little practice time in the last two weeks, we've been playing almost back-to-back-to-back-to-back so many times, that you need practice time. It's extremely unfair to ask people who have not played in a while to go through one or two practices intermittently and then come out and perform at a high level. We've seen the effects of that before, so we want to make sure that everyone gets requisite practice and conditioning time so that when they are able to play, they're able to play fully and with minimal limitations.
These guys at Comcast are apparently reporting that Gilbert told them he's going to play on Saturday, against Detroit I guess.
This next Saturday? Again, if we can get the practices in, that's certainly a possibility But not definitive yet. Again, we have some process to go through.
Is it a given he'll play at some point this season?
Um, you're asking me to look into a crystal ball that I don't have. If I knew for sure, I'd go to Vegas instead, and make myself rich. But we'll see. Let's put it this way, we're moving in a good direction, and we certainly are hopeful, but we'll see. Once again, health will be the ultimate determination.
You mentioned health, obviously practice time...what else? Is that it, is that the process?
Practice time leads you to do two things. One, it leads you to better conditioning, which is always critical. You do not want to put elite athletes on the floor at a high level when they're not well-conditioned. Second is you're able to judge what happens with the daily stress of playing NBA basketball, so you've got to see what your stress reactions are. So that's why you have practices, so you can get a gauge as to how things will respond when you get to the highest level, which are games.
So what percentage would he be able to go at practice now?
I think he can do pretty much whatever we want now. The biggest problem is we haven't had very many practices, because we've been playing. So we will have at least two this week, so that'll give us additional opportunities to evaluate.
In your opinion--I know you're not a psychiatrist--but how much of Gilbert's, I'm going to use the word reluctance, is mental as opposed to physical?
I don't think there's any of that. I think, like I said, health has been the issue. Obviously the medical staff wants to be as sure as they can be. I don't think there's any reluctance on Gilbert's part. The fact of the matter is, you generally have to hold Gilbert back from doing things, not push him to do things.
So he was out there with you today?
Yeah, he was, he was out, engaged fully, to the extent that he could, because we were preparing for Chicago. So we did a couple of drills and he was in all of those, but when we did the prep work, which is generally walk through, he didn't participate in that because he wasn't going tonight.
And in the drills he looks...?
He looks fine.
You haven't coached him yet on the floor in a game. Are you looking forward to that good dilemma as to how to get him in or what to have him do?
What coach doesn't want an all-pro player on the floor if you can have him? Obviously he would present many new dimensions for us and many new dimensions for me as a coach. So when the time is right I will look forward to coaching him. When the time is right.
And would he be a sixth man kind of guy?
That we haven't worked out yet. We'll wait until the time is right, and then we'll make all those determinations.
The best thing about the end of the season is going to be not answering questions about Gilbert any more?
That's an easy part of the day. Trust me. You guys have heard me give you pretty much the same answer for quite a while now, so that's not real difficult, no. This is all part of it. Look, I'm happy that people are interested in him, I'm happy to hear that he's making the progress, I'm happy to see him out on the floor. Anything that gets him, and the rest of our team--Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson, Etan Thomas--all of our guys healthy on the floor obviously makes all of us feel a lot better about what our prospects are. So no, this is not at all burdensome. These are good conversations. I'm feeling fine, by the way. Just so you guys know, speaking of health, ok?
Just about. As much as a guy my age can be, yes. I'm tolerable. I'm tolerable.
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