Wizards Open Camp, Arenas speaks

The Wizards opened training camp this morning with a 21/2 hour practice on the campus of VCU. They will be back at it tonight at 6. A few noteworthy nuggets from this morning:

-Antawn Jamison was pulled from practice after a few drills. He's experiencing some stiffness in his hip. The team is calling it a right hip flexor strain. Antawn said he's going to be fine.

-Etan Thomas made it through his first practice in good shape. He said he felt "good" afterward and experienced no issues. Thomas is wearing a pad over his chest and at one point, Brendan Haywood paused during a five-on-five scrimmage to ask Etan if he was ok after the two made contact. Etan replied that he was fine. Good to see Brendan and Etan going at it but also being cool with each other.

-Gilbert Arenas, who was fined $15,000 for not making himself available yesterday at media day, stopped and spoke today. He wore practice gear this morning and was very active in encouraging his teammates and paying attention to the coaches.
This morning Arenas gathered up the young guys (plus Juan Dixon and Caron Butler) to come over to the gym for some early shooting. It's his normal routine. Each guy had to make 300 shots. I also saw Gilbert putting time in with Taj McCullough and JaVale McGee on some the post moves he uses.

"I'm just trying to be a presence because even though you're not playing, you're still a part of the team," Arenas said. "The young guys need guidence and the vets are more focused on their thing. Somebody has to talk to the young guys and I'm available. It's easy for me to do it."

- On his timetable for coming back: "LIke the first two, as soon as I think I can play, I'm going to jump out there. Sometimes I get criticized for not looking so good while I'm playing but that's just my nature

-Each year, Coach Eddie Jordan invites a former coach or two to camp. This week, K.C. Jones, the former Bullets and Celtics coach, and Flip Saunders, the former T-Wolves and Pistons coach, are on hand.
The invitation of Saunders is particularly interestingn to me because few coaches have an understanding of the Wizards the way Saunders does because he's coached against Jordan's teams so many teams over the years. Jordan said Jones and Saunders are in every meeting and are offering input.

-The team has added a new member to the training staff. He's a rehabiliation specialist. I'll find out more about this addition and flesh it out this week.

-Tony Massenburg is on hand. He's now retired and interested in getting into coaching. As you may know, Tony and Etan Thomas have worked out during the offseason for several years.

-Jordan loved what he saw from Dee Brown today. "Dee was lightning today. That was really great to see. He talks, he's tough, he pushes, he's fast. His shot has improved dramatically and boy, he's a speed demon out there. That is pretty much something I've never had since I've been coaching here and we really welcome that kind of talent."

More later including a Jamison update.

By Ivan Carter |  September 27, 2008; 2:51 PM ET
Previous: Media Day Highlights | Next: Jamison Taking The Cautious Approach


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Posted by: prescrunk | September 27, 2008 3:29 PM

that is good to here about arenas and what jordan had to say about Dee.

Posted by: mikey | September 27, 2008 4:48 PM

Gil's comments and work with the young players made fairly big news on espn.com too... You have to admit, he is a media draw...

Nice to hear that Dee Brown impressed.

Will be good to see the guys in exhibition action against other teams.

Posted by: khrabb | September 27, 2008 5:51 PM

I don't see how an athlete like Antawn who just signed a fat contract isnt in good enough shape to make it through a 2 hour practice.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2008 8:06 PM

Glad to hear that Dee Brown looks good. I really like that signing.

I also really like the Linton Johnson and Demarr Johnson signings. Those guys can play in the NBA. As much as I like Juan Dixon, I like the other guys more.

Posted by: www.ultimatefootballnetwork.com | September 27, 2008 8:39 PM

Dixon makes the team, I'm sure, at a bargain price. He's a tough guy who can score at crunch time, kind of like a junior Gil. Missing Gilbert won't be so bad if Dixon and Dee Brown can force an up-tempo game, and Jamison and Butler can fill the wings and jam. Lots of athletic, big and talented players come off the bench.

I like the looks of this team. If we stay healthy, and share the ball, the Wiz can stay in the running while they wait for Gil to work himself into the mix.

It's early, when I'm always optimistic, but I think this team can go deep into the playoffs, maybe even give Mr. Pollin the championship he deserves.

Posted by: zinger1 | September 27, 2008 9:05 PM

How did Dermarr look in practice today. Hes a local guy who I hope can find a home and stability.

Posted by: Dermarr Fan | September 27, 2008 9:43 PM

The post did not say Jamison was out of shape. It said he had a strained hip flexor.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2008 10:01 PM

Maybe AJ needs some yoga to loosen up before practicing.

Posted by: DC Man88 | September 27, 2008 10:35 PM

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