Washington Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld announced today that guard Gilbert Arenas has sustained a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee, and the tear will be repaired by arthroscopic surgery. Arenas, who suffered the injury in the first quarter of Washington’s game vs. Charlotte on April 4, is expected to be out for 2-3 months.
"Gilbert was performing at an elite level," Grunfeld said. "It’s unfortunate that this injury occurred, but being the competitor that he is, Gilbert will approach his rehab regimen with the same work ethic that has made him one of the league’s most outstanding performers. We expect him to make a full recovery, and we know that his teammates will be up to the challenge to respond in his absence."
Arenas will undergo arthroscopic surgery today at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. The surgery will be performed by Wizards team physician Dr. Marc Connell. Arenas will begin rehabilitation next week, and is expected to make a full recovery.
Arenas averaged 28.4 points and 6.0 assists per game in 74 contests this season, and made his third consecutive All Star appearance. Arenas will finish the regular season with 2,105 points scored, becoming the franchise’s first player since Walt Bellamy to score 2,000+ points in three consecutive seasons.
Arenas gave the Wizards buzzer-beating wins in four games this season, and established a new single game franchise scoring record when he scored 60 points at Los Angeles on December 17. He won three Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards this season, and took home Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors in December.
QUOTES:WIZARDS PRESIDENT OF BASKETBALL OPERATIONS ERNIE GRUNFELDOn Gilbert Arenas’ injury:
“It is very unfortunate. Gilbert was having a fantastic year. He means a lot to us, but things happen and you have to move on. The other guys are going to have to step up and pick up the slack, and I think we will be very competitive.”
On the team moving forward:
“The goal is to take it one game at a time. We’ll have other guys step up, see what combinations work for us and where we can be the most effective, and we will move from there. We want to make the playoffs -- that has always been our goal, and we are in a good position to do that. I think we have a lot of players on this team with a lot of pride. We are going to come every night and give a great effort and see what happens after that.”
On the team:
“This just gives other players a great opportunity. If we had our choice, everyone would be healthy. This is something you have to go through, and this is why you have a bench and a 15-man roster. If someone does go down others have to step up and pick up the slack.
"Obviously we do not have anyone on the bench that is going to come in and average more than 28 points a game, and do the kind of things Gilbert has done for us. We are going to have to do some things differently, but we have some very capable players on this team that are very competitive and have a lot pride.”
On the ‘Big Three’:
“We had them healthy for the first 50 games of the year, and I think we showed that we are very competitive when we have all of our pieces, but we are not the only team that has had an injury this year. Obviously, you do not want to see these kinds of things happen…but they do, and we have to move forward.”
WIZARDS HEAD COACH EDDIE JORDANOn Gilbert Arenas:
“He is going to have arthroscopic knee surgery and we anticipate a full recovery. With the extent of his injury, that is the bad news, but the good news is we expect a full recovery from a terrific medical team.”
On Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler being injured:
“It is an unfortunate incident, and as players in the NBA, and as coaches in the NBA, you have to be prepared for something like this at times. I think we are prepared. We have 12 guys ready to play because of the injuries to Gilbert, Caron and Andray (Blatche). We are going to tweak some things to feature some of our strengths, and we just have to defend a little bit better, and we will move forward.”
More on the team:
“We cannot rely on Gilbert and Caron with their terrific talents to break down defenses, make correct reads, and make big plays, but we enough size and we have enough able bodies to do some certain things. We will switch some things, we will open up the floor at times and then we will slow the game down a little bit.”
On point guards:
“Antonio (Daniels) played a great game against Charlotte and will start for us. He played a lot of minutes, and so we will activate Donell Taylor. We liked the things he did for us in the middle of the season, and we only scaled his play down in the last 20 games of the season because we thought we would go with our veteran players. He is ready to step in as a backup point guard.”
On the roster:
“For our players right now, this could be a shining moment. It is a shining moment for the coaches also. When your two best players are down, you are coaching a team that must move forward and you have to get them ready to play. You have to do things to go to their strengths. Our strength now will be Antawn, Etan (Thomas) and Darius (Songaila) in the post, and our pick-and-rolls with DeShawn and Antonio Daniels. We are going to have our spot-up shooters in Roger (Mason Jr.) and Jarvis (Hayes). These guys have been a big part of our success.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANTAWN JAMISONOn Gilbert Arenas:
“We knew he would not be back tomorrow or Saturday. We thought it was a possibility for playoffs, but now he is done for the season. The identity and the make up of the team will be different. We go from a scoring team to a team that is really going to use the clock and do a lot of simple things and take advantage of what we have.
"We are going to stay positive. We have a guy that has won a NBA Championship (Antonio Daniels) that is going to be directing the team. We have guys that have been successful before, and it is time for them to step up. It is always tough when you lose your best player, and we lost another All-Star in Caron, but it is basketball and no one is feeling sorry for us. We are going to feel like no matter who we play we have the opportunity to win. We have some talented guys that can go out there and get it done.”
On making necessary adjustments:
“We just have to adjust on the fly, and I think mentally it has soaked in what we are going to be doing for the rest of season and going into the playoffs. I think the most important thing is we need to get some wins and build some confidence within ourselves and get some momentum going down the stretch.”
WIZARDS GUARD DESHAWN STEVENSONOn Gilbert Arenas:
“It is tough going on without Gilbert, but people need to step up and we will have to try different things in order to continue to be successful. Losing his attitude and the things he does on the court will be tough, but I am going to go out there and share the ball and play solid defense.”