Wednesday October 27th 2010 2:02 p.m.
By Frank Hanrahan
The Wizards had prepared in practice this week as if they would not have Gilbert Arenas in the season opener at Orlando tomorrow night and today confirmation that the former all star guard will miss at least the next two games due to a bad ankle. Arenas had missed the last two pre-season games because of a groin injury and the last four practices due to an ankle issue. The Wizards are now calling the injury a strained right ankle tendon and Arenas was wearing a walking boot at practice in Orlando today and will seek further medical attention.
Arenas has already missed a considerable amount of game time in the past four years due to knee injuries and suspension and this is yet another set back to a player who was once one of the most dynamic scorers in the NBA.
"We need him, there's no question," Coach Flip Saunders said. "Last year, before he went out he was a 22 point scorer and 7.5 assists so you'd like to put that in your lineup and when he's not there it puts more pressure on your main guards. John (Wall) and Kirk (Hinrich) will play more minutes then maybe we would like them too until we can get Arenas back. Whenever that is," said Saunders.
Heading into this season, many wondered if Arenas could coexist in the same back court with rookie phenom John Wall? Now the question is, can Arenas stay healthy just to play with Wall. "It will be tough not to have him out there but you know you got to move on and keep playing we got other talented players that can pick up some scoring slack," Wall said.
With no Arenas available for the Orlando game tomorrow and at Atlanta Saturday, Al Thornton will start at small forward. "It's a great opportunity. I have a chance to step up. Of course we want Gil out there, he's an all star type player but we got to go out there and win as a team," Thornton said.