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Daniels in good shape, Gilbert speaks

An update on Antonio Daniels, who appeared to tweak his right knee during the second half of last night's game at Milwaukee, and was grimmacing on the bench for a few moments after he came out: he was in practice gear and worked out today with his teammates at VC and should be good to go tomorrow against Seattle. That's good news.

Also, Gilbert Arenas dropped by towads the end of practice today and spoke at length about his injury, his rehab and a possible date of return. He didn't really say anything new but did say that he is coming along well, recently got off of his crutches and isn't feeling any pain in the knee. He hasn't set a firm timetable for a possible return, saying he could be back anytime between the middle of February and the middle of March as long as the knee is coming along.

Clearly, he is not going to push himself too hard as he did this summer when he held marathon shooting sessions, played pick-up at Barry Farms and otherwise strained the knee. By the way, tomorrow is Gilbert's birthday.

"It all depends on how I feel," he said when asked about a possible return. "I have to protect the rest of my career too so I won't jeopardize that for just 15 games if I'm not 100 percent. If it's aching, if I'm out here practicing and it's swelling up, then, I'll see you next year."

He also indicated that he could base his decision on how the team is doing. The Wizards (16-15) are 13-10 since he last played and have won two of the last three. They've done it by beating up on some of the league's dregs like Charlotte, Minnesota, Milwaukee etc., but that's fine because there are a lot of teams like that. Right now, the Wiz have the fourth best winning percentage in the East.

"If we have a chance to go far with me playing in the playoffs, then I'll say yeah," Arenas said. "If not, then I'll shut it down and just rehab."

Translation from a guy who has covered Gil for three years: He's coming back as soon as he thinks the knee is sound. No way I see him sitting out all the way until next year. The guy misses it too much. And, if he does come back in good shape, this will suddenly become the most dangerous team in the East after Boston and Detroit (in my humble opinion) Caron Butler is playing the best ball of his life. Ditto for Antawn Jamison. We've seen enough of the "new" Brendan Haywood to project that he's not going to slide back into old ways. He's playing very well as is Daniels, Mason, and at times, Blatche.

Assuming that Gilbert takes until mid March to see game action, he'd have between 15 and 20 games to help with the playoff push, get his legs back, hone his shot and get ready for the playoffs.

By Ivan Carter  |  January 5, 2008; 3:16 PM ET
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