Wednesday , Sep , 17 , 2008 Oly Sandor

The Hibachi effect: three ways Gilbert Arenas’ latest injury impacts Washington Wizards

The Hibachi effect: three ways Gilbert Arenas' latest injury impacts Washington Wizards

This summer, the Washington Wizards ignored Gilbert Arenas’ past knee surgeries, rolled the dice on his health, and signed him to a six-year, $111 million contract.

Right now, their gamble looks to have backfired. Today, Wizards’ executive Ernie Grunfeld and team Doctor Marc Connell announced that Arenas has undergone another knee operation.

“After Gilbert’s normal course of rehabilitation was ramped up, he experienced some swelling and discomfort in his knee,” said Connell. “A subsequent MRI showed that the knee is structurally sound. The decision was made to perform an arthroscopic lavage procedure, during which a moderate amount of debris was removed after saline solution was washed through the knee. The presence of debris is common with the nature of his previous injury. This was a proactive procedure that will enhance his rehabilitation process.” (

Early reports have the All-Star missing November only. However, his injury has lingered for months and ‘The Hibachi’ could be on long-term injured reserve for some time.

Arenas’ latest surgery impacts the Wizards in three ways:

1) Arenas is a cult-hero. Fans love his trash talking, read his world-reknown blog, and try beating his Halo scores. Without his persona making headlines and selling jerseys, Washington loses its national profile.

2) Arenas’ big-ticket deal could become a big-ticket cap killer. The Wizards gave the combo guard $111 million because they hoped he’d regain his form from 2005-06. This looks unlikely after several surgeries and eighteen months mostly spent watching. If he’s not playing or posting big numbers, his contract hurts the club’s salary structure.

3) Washington could face another identity crisis like last playoff. With Arenas playing, they were a high scoring, guilty pleasure. Without Arenas, they improved on defense, but sometimes struggled with shooting. Instead of meshing these styles in training camp, they’ll have the harder task of ironing-out kinks mid- season.

Look for Antwan Jamison and swingman Caron Butler to again step-up during Arenas’ absence. Jamison just signed a contract extension this summer. Butler, fresh off his second All-Star game appearance, could take the next step as a two-way star.

This duo should cover the club on-court. Of course, Jamison and Butler will also be covering the front office’s $111 million gamble on Arenas’ knee, too.

Is Arenas’ latest injury proof Washington shouldn’t have extended him for $111 million? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA throughts. Photo courtesy of wizardsdotcom.