I spoke with Gilbert Arenas not long after he stormed out of the locker room after being told by team medical staff that he couldn't play tonight. He was still frustrated but backed off of what he said when he walked out ("Ya'll don't have to write anymore. I'm not coming back this year.")
He said he will be at practice tomorrow and appears to be coming to grips with the idea that they wouldn't let him play tonight.
Arenas went through shootaround and showed up late this afternoon expecting to be cleared but during a meeting with team doctor Marc Connell, who performed the surgery, Arenas was told that the knee still has some swelling in it and Connell wants him to wait at least another week before trying to test it in a game.
Arenas: "I went in there hoping to have them look at the knee and say I could play. Then, (the doctor) told me I need one more week. I understand, he's the doctor, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. It took me a long time to get my mind right about coming back at at all and today, I was there. I wanted to play. Now, how do I know that I'm going to be ready next week? What's going to change next week? At the end of the day, it might be the right thing, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear."
Arenas has expressed fear about re-injuring the knee but said he's recently come to grips with those fears. And, while he still plans to opt out this summer and seek a max contract, he's anxious to play this season.
He told me that he watched a movie yesterday (didn't catch the title) that inspired him. "It had a quote that said: don't let fear control you," Arenas said. "And that made me think that yeah, I can't let fear of getting hurt again keep me from doing what I love to do. I love basketball and I want to play."
He came back late in the first quarter with a sports coat on and is watching the game from the bench. He told me that he's already been warned by the league about sitting on the bench without a jacket and said another violation will earn him a $10,000 fine.
"Even though I'm not playing, it's still about the team," he told ESPN's Lisa Salters. "I still had to come back and support them."
He sounded mad when I talked him an hour ago but when I walked down to do a halftime radio interview, we crossed paths and Arenas had a smile on his face.
"I came back," he told me with a shrug of his shoulders.
Gilbertology folks, Gilbertology. Never a dull moment around here......
March 23, 2008; 9:00 PM ET
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