Gilbert Arenas has struck again, although this time his words appear to be more a blow to his own team than of any comedic value.
The Washington Times' John R. Mitchell reports:
"It's all about me getting healthy this time," Arenas said. "If I'm not 110 percent, I'm not going to budge. I'm not in a rush."
But Arenas will change his stance if the Wizards can do some damage with him in the playoffs and the team clears his return.
"If we have a chance to go far in the playoffs with me playing, I'll say yeah," Arenas said. "If not, then I'll go ahead and shut it down. See ya."
The overall sentiment certainly makes sense. Arenas rushed back from his late-season injury last year, and he paid the price by ending up on the shelf this season. With free agency looming, it is imperative for both his own personal success (and for the team he plays for whenever he is healthy) that Gil is back to full strength for sure and a minimal liability for future injury before he plays again. The idea of waiting to be absolutely certain that this is the case is more than fair.
It is that last comment that just doesn't seem worth making.
To the objective outsider, this Wizards team isn't a championship contender, and that is likely the case with or without Arenas. That said, this team has been putting all it has on the floor in Gil's absence to stay above water without him, and Arenas isn't supposed to be an objective outsider. He is a member of this team, perhaps the leader, which means that at least outwardly, he likely should be showing as much faith as possible in his crew.
As the situation currently stands, the comment certainly doesn't reek of confidence in the ability of this Wizards group to really be in shape to make a run come spring. But what is even worse is that Arenas could be backing himself into a corner come playoff time. If the Wizards are in the East's bracket (which they could well be) and Arenas hasn't played, a decision not to play will be a clear indication that he doesn't believe the team as currently constructed has a shot that would make it worth playing. With the work everyone in this organization is putting in to make up for his loss, it would sure seem to be a slap in the face to the Wiz for Arenas to make that kind of decision.
Arenas would have been good to go if he had made all his comments about his philosophy on the injury and stopped before the playoff qualifier. That would have allowed him to use a variety of outs if he chose to sit in the spring. Now, it seems that a decision to sit the playoffs would undoubtedly draw a public line between Gil and his team.
Maybe I'm making something out of nothing. But to someone who considers himself an Arenas fan and would like to see the Hibachi get cooking again, it seems like Gil could have been just as well served by holding his tongue just this once, when there was absolutely nothing to gain.