WASHINGTON (AP) -Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas was to have surgery Thursday on his left knee and is essentially done for the season.
Arenas was diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear and was to have arthroscopic surgery later in the day at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. The Wizards said the recovery time will be two to three months, meaning he might play again this season only if Washington manages to make the NBA finals without him.
Arenas was injured in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s 108-100 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Wizards have lost both of their All-Stars to injuries in less than a week. Caron Butler broke a bone in his hand in Sunday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and is out for six weeks.
Without their two best players, the Wizards are stumbling to the finish of what was a promising season only two months ago. They lost back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday to the lottery-bound Bobcats and have fallen behind the Miami Heat in the race for the Southeast Division title.
Arenas averaged 28.4 points and six assists in 74 games this season and made his third consecutive All-Star appearance. He started every game until Wednesday night, when he was benched at the opening tip-off for being late for a shootaround earlier in the day.
Arenas entered the game late in the first quarter and was injured less than two minutes later, when Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace inadvertently crashed into Arenas’ knee after an off-balance reverse layup. Arenas, who was battling for rebounding position, was unable to avoid Wallace and his knee bent the wrong way, much like that of a quarterback who has been hit low by a rushing lineman.
It is the first significant injury for Arenas since an abdominal strain sidelined him for 27 games during the 2003-04 season. He missed only two games each of the last two seasons.
Arenas finishes the regular season with 2,105 points scored, becoming the franchise’s first player since Walt Bellamy to score more than 2,000 points in three consecutive seasons. He also established a single-game franchise scoring record with 60 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 17.
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