Tuesday night was supposed to be Gilbert Arenas’ first home game since his suspension for being Mr. Hilarious Guns in the Wizards’ locker room. ‘Twas also the debut of rookie phenom John Wall. All in all, a pretty big night for guards in Washington. Kirk Hinrich got his bangs trimmed and everything.
But then, rather than seeing the one-time face of their franchise shooting corner threes, Wizards fans were treated to Gilbert Arenas in an all too familiar position — on the bench, resting his sore left knee. Yikes, because that knee’s been a problem for the past three years. And also yikes because everyone thought he’d been healthy. Never good to see your highest paid player on the bench with an injury, especially after he’s spent seasons on the bench with injuries.
Except, according to Gilbert, he’s totally fine. He was just helping out a friend.
Following the game, Arenas told reporters [the injury] was all a ruse in order to give Young the opportunity for more playing time.
“I know he’s kind of frustrated he’s not getting a chance to crack the three position, especially since we’re going three guards, so I told him I’d go ahead and fake an injury or say something’s wrong with me so you can start,” a smiling Arenas said in the locker room.
When asked about the health of his knee, Arenas said, “I’m fine,” and indicated he would play on Thursday in the Wizards’ final home preseason game against Milwaukee.
Giving up playing time to help out a teammate by faking an injury is so very Gilbert Arenas. The guy lives in his own world — one of cartoon pranksters, sit-in aquariums and Desert Eagles — where his sense of humor has no effect on anyone except to make them laugh. To him, no one should be offended that he would do a team-first thing like sit out a game to help a teammate, even if it means that fans who have waited months to see him play don’t get that chance.
And while it’s a very nice thing that Gilbert did — he knows his spot in the rotation is already assured, so he’s trying to give a buddy a shot at some real playing time — he has to know that saying he “[faked] an injury” isn’t going to go over too well. People are already pretty weirded out by the solemn, bearded Gil and choosing to sit out a game isn’t necessarily the way to go about winning back fans. At least that’s what branding experts tell me. It’s just not good strat.
Of course, Nick Young did have 24 points on 10-14 shooting in last night’s Wizards win, so maybe Gilbert Arenas does know what he’s doing.