Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Arenas healthy, ready for season

ESPN.com news services

Gilbert Arenas says he's back to his explosive self but is wondering if it's the Wizards' fault that it has taken him so long to get back to normal.

Arenas, who worked with trainer Tim Grover in Chicago this summer, told The Washington Times that his injuries are in the past.

Arenas If you have a kid that loves basketball, that eats, sleeps, drinks and thinks basketball and all he knows is basketball and he gets hurt and he's your franchise player, you need to hold him back from himself.

-- Gilbert Arenas

"Nobody could guard me before, and can't nobody guard me now," Arenas told the newspaper. "If I hadn't come up here, I'd be starting off the season with a 95 percent chance that I'd be sitting out more games. ... [Tim Grover] saved my career."

Coming off three knee surgeries in 1½ years, Arenas played in only two games last season.

Grover painted a grim picture of Arenas' health when the Washington Wizards guard arrived at his training complex in Chicago this July.

"A lot of things weren't firing -- his glutes, his hips, thighs," Grover told the newspaper. "I wouldn't say his condition was the most severe, I wouldn't say it was the best. ... But if I were to classify it on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the most extreme, I'd say he was definitely in the seven, eight category."

Grover has several high-profile NBA clients, including Dwyane Wade, O.J. Mayo and Tracy McGrady. Arenas has resisted overtures to work with Grover in the past, but finally decided to give it a try this year.

While Arenas praised Grover for saving his career, he blamed the Wizards for giving him too much control over his failed comebacks from surgery the past two seasons.

"If you have a kid that loves basketball, that eats, sleeps, drinks and thinks basketball and all he knows is basketball and he gets hurt and he's your franchise player, you need to hold him back from himself," Arenas told the newspaper. "If I'm saying I feel good and you know it's supposed to take six months, instead of letting me at four months run ... they should have held me back. Rather than saying, 'Let's let this guy do what he wants and use him to sell tickets' -- sometimes you have to protect players from themselves. I don't feel like I got that type of protection. But, I don't judge them for that. Some things just happen. I told them I felt OK because I wanted to play, and they did what they did."

Arenas has worked hard this summer to try to get back on the court.

"It was a pretty extensive process," Grover told the newspaper. "We had to get his range of motion back in the leg, did a lot of acupuncture, a lot of work. We put a game plan together and attacked it from as many angles as we could. Gil would work with four or five individuals from my staff each day. ... It was, 'OK, Gil, you're going to be spending a good six to seven hours a day in here and a lot of treatment, and it's all pieces of the puzzle to putting you back together to being the player you were before -- and better.' "

Arenas averaged 27.7 points per game from 2004 until 2007, becoming one of the NBA's most dynamic players. But he has played just 15 games the past two seasons because of his injuries.

Arenas said his goal isn't to be an All-Star player this season. Instead, he has loftier goals.

"All-Star's not my goal. I never wanted to be an All-Star. All-Star is the 24 hottest players at that time. All-League? That's my goal," Arenas told the newspaper. "All-League is only 15 players. So All-League and to play as many games as possible. That's it."