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Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 3:25 pm  |  12 responses

Gilbert Arenas on Recovery

“They see us how we used to be and they don’t understand.”

by Tracy Weissenberg

Averaging eight points on 34 percent shooting, including 26 percent from three with the Magic, Gilbert Arenas has been grounded by injuries. His game is jump shot reliant and he lacks the legs underneath him to provide the spring in his release. Arenas used to use his jumper to dare his defender from any spot on the floor. Now, his limitations have forced him to assume a more modest identity as a player.

Arenas has a quick ability to disarm with his honesty. While he had spoken about a new beginning with the Magic after the trade, the effects of injuries remain an ever-present shadow. Arenas recognizes that sometimes as an athlete it is easy to push yourself beyond limitations because that’s what you know. The hard part is learning to play within them and separating the mental from the physical.

After the Magic’s loss to the Hawks, he spoke about the process of recovery.

SLAM: Do you think as an athlete, sometimes it’s mind over body, [where] you think you can push yourself to do things even during the rehabilitation process?

Gilbert Arenas: Yeah, you know when you’re an athlete and you’re a competitor, you can convince yourself to do anything. Sometimes—95 percent of the time—it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s something when you’re growing up, you’re just taught ‘just play through the pain, play through the pain.’ So you know, I think that hurt me a while trying to rehab my knee back because when I felt that I could do something, I’m gonna go out there and do it.

SLAM: Do you think that people don’t realize how much of a mental adjustment it is to return from injury?

GA: They see us how we used to be and they don’t understand. We work so hard to try to get back and sometimes, we’re overworking but that’s all we know. That’s all we know is just to work hard. Even though my knee can’t take six hours, if I know to work six hours, that’s all I’m gonna do. And then I deal with what happens later (such as) Oh, I can’t work out for the next two months…It’s a big adjustment because now when you’re out there playing, it’s like you want to go into the lane and jump like I know I can jump, but when I go in there I just don’t jump because I’m scared to jump. I have no idea why. I feel like it’s like I’m scared to go in and jump off my left leg but I know I can. I can see whenever I go for a rebound, I’m at the rim but if I try to make a layup, I don’t even try to explode up for some reason.

SLAM: Do you think time is key for the mental and physical aspects to come together?

GA: It’s just repetition. I know that’s one of my problems that I’m not jumping the way I should be so it kind of gets me scared a little bit of driving to the lane and go and explode. I don’t know why I’m nervous about it. I know there’s nothing wrong. It’s just mentally; it’s just a mental thing.

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  • nick

    sad to see a one time offensive juggernaut become nothing more than a game to game X factor

  • MLK4Life

    So he’s fine, just afraid to try it? Uh, if he’s 70 percent of what he used to be, the Magic could be dangerous.

  • ab40

    he’s got major off court issues I can tell you that

  • SMIK

    @ab40 agree, needs to get his mindset back and then let his body decide what game he truly has left.
    its a shame though Magic would have been far better off if they kept Rashard Lewis (A focused RL)

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    It’s sad to see Gil and his troubles on the court because it’s obvious he really loves the game.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    Gilbert, we all still believe in you. Take this offseason to train your mind and come back with the competitive fire we know you still have. We want to see the Hibachi and Agent 0 we fell in love with. You’ve still got it.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com airs

    =[

  • Oratnek

    I’m in it with Caboose. Well said. chase those dust on your knees away and get going.

  • mdshuai33

    “that’s just it Doc; my mind has always been my achilles heel…”

  • birdy

    as a huge, huge Gil fan, it really hurts to see him like this. we all know he can still ball, but its up to him to find that out himself. good luck gil, us fans are all waiting for Agent Zero to make a comeback.

  • dsleepy

    looooong time gil fan and he’s my dude for as long as he in the nba, i really do hope he makes it back. but i’ve been waiting for him to recover for 3 years now. at this point, it seems like he really is going to go the same road as his idol (penny). the thing is before the trade, he was getting good #’s on the wiz. i know it’s the wiz, but the jumper looked good in starter minutes.

  • D12FSU

    He says hes gonna work with a highly recommended trainer this offseason, so maybe he’ll come back healthier next season…in hindsight, kinda wish orlando hadnt traded away Lewis for Gil. It wouldve been nice to see if having Hedo back wouldve revived Lewis, also he was a fan favorite to most in orlando.

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