It appears that not a week can go by without Gilbert Arenas involving himself in another controversy. Last night, the Wizards continued their preseason schedule with their first game at the Verizon Center. Arenas' participation in the game was considered questionable as his "knee was acting up" after two hard practices and Nick Young started instead in his place.
This is all fine and dandy until post game when Arenas was asked about his injury and about talking to Young about 'sacrifice;'
"Yea, I told him I’d sacrifice playing tonight so he’d get some time. Because I know he’s kinda frustrated not getting a chance to crank it up at the three position, especially since we’re going three guards. So I told him I’d fake an injury or say something’s wrong with me. So that’s why he said sacrifice."
Veteran players having imaginary aches and pains is nothing new in the NBA. Teams rest players with phantom injuries for a variety of reasons: because they want to give another player a shot at the position, the team wants to tank the season, or they want the "injured" player to have an off day in preparation for the slog of the regular season. However, whenever this happens it falls under a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink," scenario in which all parties agree to turn a blind eye to the purported injury.
What Arenas has done is pull the curtain back from the practice and acknowledge that he took a night off in order to give another player some time during preseason. This isn't a bad thing. What is concerning is whether Flip Saunders was consulted on the matter and if he knew whether Arenas' injury was a cock and bull story or if this is as much a surprise to him as it was to the media covering Arenas' comments. If the latter, it demonstrates a justified continued concern for Arenas' professional behavior as who receives minutes is ultimately the coach's decision and does not fall under the responsibility of a disgruntled former star.
It is preseason, so these comments and Arenas' "injury" should all be taken with a grain of salt. It is fair to say that we all know what Arenas is capable of producing during the regular season, so his involvement in last night's game was not a necessity by any means. If this were a December game against the Heat, it would be a cause for concern, for now we can chalk this up to Gilbert being Gilbert.