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Wiz at Portland, Arenas opens up

Rookie G Nick Young, who has missed two straight games with a right thigh bruise - an injury he suffered in the win over Cleveland - went through shootaround this morning and will be a game-time decision. Basically, Nick is trying to fight through some stiffness and soreness in the thigh and hopes to play. Etan Thomas did not make the trip.

As for Gilbert Arenas, who is on the trip and remains anxious to return to game action, check out the blog he wrote at www.nba.com. http://my.nba.com/forum.jspa?forumID=400032200

Wow. Arenas has never been afraid to open a window into his soul but this one tops them all. I knew he was upset after the doctors told he couldn't play the other night but the part about what went through his mind while driving is stunning. But the man has a point: we've all been there (I know I have). It all goes back to something I've said about Arenas all along: the man needs basketball. It's who he is and what he's about. Without it, he's just not the same person. He'll be called weird or worse for opening up like that in a blog but I just think that he's being totally human.

I'll check in later from the arena with any updates. And a word on Portland: what a beautiful city. I've been here before but it has either been raining or snowing during my last two visits. Today, it was so nice. Went for a morning run and then walked around to check out the waterfront/downtown area. Even managed to avoid the Niketown. If you get a chance, check this fine city out.

As for the Blazers, I have a feeling that they will be ready tonight. According to Jason Quick of the Oregonian, who covers the team very well, the Blazers stunk up the joint in a loss at Seattle last night. Coach Nate McMillan was not pleased so I would expect a better effort tonight. It will be interesting to see whether LaMarcus Aldridge, who killed the Wiz out there last year, will be ready to go. He rolled an ankle last night in the third quarter and did not return. He had scored 20 or more points in nine straight games.

And, just to provide an update for those who have kindly asked via e-mail about my boy Sven Olson, who is serving in Iraq. I wrote a blog about him awhile back.

He sent me an e-mail yesterday saying that he's hanging in there. The violence has picked up lately and that's going to be a problem but so far, he's safe and sound. The funny thing is, he sounds more concerned about Arizona's early exit from the tournament and he, like everyone else, is curious about when Arenas is going to come back (we once watched a young Arenas playing in the NCAA tournament as a frosh when I lived in KC and my boy was like: "he's going to be one of the best players to come out of U of A"). Go figure.


By Ivan Carter  |  March 25, 2008; 5:44 PM ET
 
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Comments

Arenas recounts the meeting with sports Doc, "Everything is looking good. We're heading in the right direction. I'm very confident in the knee. All my worries are over. Right now, mentally, you should be thinking about the Eastern Conference Finals. Get your mind ready for the Eastern Conference Finals because there's no team out there that this team in scared of and nobody wants to see a seven game series with you playing."

So I'm lathered up thinking, "Yeah, boy! Let's go out there and get it started!" I'm jumping out the seat, ready to go.

And here comes the curve ...

"Yeah, well, you know, let's give this thing another week or so and you know, we'll check you back then?"

Passing strange that the doctor seems to shaping his medical opinion on the stretch drive and playoff strategy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

ivan do you think he will come back this year because they are going to play clevend or orlando if they make the playoffs and they have a change to win this series because larry huges, drew gooden, gave them problem i think they have a good change but they have to have
GILBERT

Posted by: brandon | March 25, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

ivan do you think he will come back this year because they are going to play clevend or orlando if they make the playoffs and they have a change to win this series because larry huges, drew gooden, gave them problem i think they have a good change but they have to have
GILBERT

Posted by: brandon | March 25, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

All the best Wiz fans need to get yourselves over to www.wizardsextreme.com. Best Wiz site out there. Thanks for the update Ivan, please let us know if Nick's going to be playing tonight when you find out.

Posted by: WizSkinsO's | March 25, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I see that Gilbert wants to come off the bench and play only 20 minutes a game. Isn't this the coaches decision as to how much Gilbert plays (once the doctor clears him)?

Similarly, if Gil changes his mind and wants to start and play 40 minutes, I presume that the coach can play him only 20 minutes off of the bench if he so chooses.

If the above is correct, then the coach must bear some responsibility when a player gets hurt from logging heavy minutes (particularly after an injury) because there are plenty of NBA analyzes that show injuries and minutes played are directly correlated.

Posted by: Izman | March 25, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

sniff sniff......WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! WAHHHHHHH!!!!!! I'm Gilby Arenas and I want my way now!!!!!!! WAHHHHH!!!!

ps. I heard he hires someone to write his infamous blog. He just calls up that person with the sob stories.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Gilby should be playing tonight b/c he still owes Portland from his promise last year.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, you heard something that's common knowledge. You're so brilliant. Leave?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

"Ooh, you heard something that's common knowledge. You're so brilliant. Leave?

Posted by: | March 25, 2008 10:22 PM "

Easily much moreso than you.

Posted by: DC Man88 | March 25, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Wiz down big at the half. Saw this one coming. Portland started the season like a house afire, and even though they've cooled off, they've shown they can be dangerous. They're long and athletic and can strike quickly.

Posted by: kalorama | March 25, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Suicidal tendencies? A me-first attitude? A winning record without him? Tell me again why the Wizards should give this schmuck the max?

Posted by: GilHater | March 25, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Well the Blazers were just too hot from the jump tonight. But as I watch this blow out it occurs to me that power basketball is very much like power football. Just as folk like to see the pretty play of team throwing the football 45 times a game we know that running the ball and controlling the game wins. Likewise as I see Pryzbilla look like Bill Russel due to the small ball front line of DMac and Jamison the basic principle remains true...Using Haywood may not be pretty but it works. We all know he can't chase on the pick and roll. But he brings enough that he needs to be on the court more.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 26, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Gil should not return next year for being human! I mean wow! Who the hell would want someone human on their team!?!

Posted by: B.A.M. | March 26, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

"Using Haywood may not be pretty but it works."

Except it didn't work. Haywood was on the floor when the Blazers built a 16 point lead going into the half (starting from 5). He was also on the floor in the third when they pushed it to 20 in the 3rd. Pryzbilla played 4 more minutes than Haywood and grabbed 3 times as many boards. The Wizards front line was outclassed across the board. Playing Haywood more minutes is not the automatic answer to ever game. If something's not working, you try something else. Haywood wasn't getting it done, so Jordan tried other combos.

It's funny how when Etan or Ruffin were playing people bent over backwards to complain that Jordan left them out even when they weren't being effective. Yet when Haywood's ineffective, the answer is always to play him more.

Posted by: kalorama | March 26, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Kalorama,I partially agree but if I remember correctly the lead was built up and was extended primarily by the Blazer's hot shooting, not by inside play. Songalia did play well but Blatche was atrocious at the 5. Dmac is not a center but was inserted there in the fourth quarter. I think there was a point in the second half when they really took over the paint and Haywood should have been reinserted to stop all the drives to the hole and the easy putbacks.

Posted by: BmoreRev | March 26, 2008 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Few are bigger detractors of smallball in the Wiz'osphere than myself, but the problem with our defense tonight was AD and Stevenson screwing up pick and roll coverage and Butler and Jamison losing concentration and sagging off Portland's three-point shooters.

You might as well have put Jordan himself in the game at center. It wouldn't have mattered with the way all the other defenders completely mailed it in tonight.

Posted by: Pradamaster | March 26, 2008 1:54 AM | Report abuse

They made a few layups throughout the game, but it wasn't the main problem. It's not like the Blazers were running a layup drill. The Blazers started hot from the perimeter and when the Wizards players tried to chase them off their shots they got beaten off the dribble and the Blazers penetrated and kicked back out to shooters (thus the 28 assists on 39 field goals made).

The Wiz got hurt some later in the 4th by offensive rebounds, but the Blazers were up by 20+ at that point and the game was effectively over. Besides, the Blazers were manhandling the Wizards front line in the first 3 quarters (with and without Haywood on the floor) on the defensive glass. The only reason they didn't control the offensive glass as well is because they weren't missing many shots.

Bottom line is that every Wizards frontcourt player had his lunch money taken. (Hell, Raef LaFrentz, who if not for injuries to Oden and Aldridge would be lucky to even suit up on most nights, outplayed all of the Wizards bigs.) Playing Haywood a few more minutes wouldn't have salvaged the game.

Posted by: kalorama | March 26, 2008 2:04 AM | Report abuse

From this and other accounts it seems that the Wiz doctors don't really have a clear plan or criteria for Gilby's return. If you think he is not ready - than just say so, without all the lame sugar-coating. Nobody is going to argue with your professional judgment - if it's clear that it's in fact your judgment that's well thought-out and based on clear medical criteria and not simply an attempt to minimize the blame if - god forbid! - something happened to Arenas again.

And aren't those the same people who just a few months ago were too lenient in allowing Gilby to come back and play too many minutes too soon? Why such drastic change from the previous approach? Are they just afraid? Shouldn't such decisions be based on the science of medicine, instead of somebody's emotional state?

Even if we forget about the medical side of this ordeal, just in terms of the impact on the player's morale they clearly could and should have handled that much, much better. Why would you want to drive your player - especially a superstar player, especially one as emotional as Arenas - to almost suicidal thoughts by making all this fuss by first clearing him and then pulling back at the last minute? If they had any sort of a clear plan, something like this would have never happened.

In the end, it's clear that Arenas doesn't trust those doctors anymore - and I can't blame him. If I were managing the Wiz, I would try to find a doctor who wouldn't be afraid to make a decision - and take responsibility for it.

Posted by: rurikbird | March 26, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

You know Ivan you are correct. Gil does show the human side. Hell, I can remember being upset over something or another and thinking the same thing. But, like any sane person does, you quit feeling sorry for yourself and move on. You don't quit on life. You adjust, which is exactly what Gil did. He got himself together and made it back to the gym to be with his team and friends. Loved the bit about the party for his kids. Hate the way the Wiz played last night. I knew after the second quarter that it would be that type of night and not worth losing sleep over. Hoped I would wake up and here that we won, but figured that they would lose. Oh well.......Seattle tonight. Go Wiz! Hang in there Gil.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert will be just fine... I for one am glad that he has the Blog as an outlet for his emotions... As far as coming off the bench is concerned, (1) the sincerity of Gilbert's respect for what AD has done in his absence this season is eveident and well-placed and (2) the Wiz could have the mother of all second units during the playoffs...

Don't let Portland get you down, guys.

Posted by: khrabb | March 26, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert will be just fine... I for one am glad that he has the Blog as an outlet for his emotions... As far as coming off the bench is concerned, (1) the sincerity of Gilbert's respect for what AD has done in his absence this season is eveident and well-placed and (2) the Wiz could have the mother of all second units during the playoffs...

Don't let Portland get you down, guys.

Posted by: khrabb | March 26, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Gilby coming back has one real motive, and that is to show teams that he can still score in bunches. As he said in his blog, he's got 20 minutes in the game to prove that, so EJ can pretty much sh#tcan the game plan for those 20 minutes b/c Gilby will be jacking up shots "without a conscience."

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