When a Wizard Cries Wolf: Gilbert Arenas Learns the Dangers of Faking Injuries

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IOctober 18, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 19:  Gilbert Arenas #0 of the Washington Wizards hanldles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 19, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Wizards 121-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was recently fined $50,000 by the team after it was revealed that he faked an injury in order to give teammate Nick Young more playing time.

Arenas reportedly claimed that his knee was bothering him, but then later admitted he only said it in an attempt to garner more playing time for Young, a player Arenas felt deserved the extra minutes.

At first glance it may seem like an unselfish act by Arenas, but in reality it's just a continuation of the strange mannerisms that has led him to this particular point in his career.

Arenas is an extremely likable guy and a media favorite, but his charisma and personality should not excuse him for the string of questionable choices he has recently made.

The gun incident last season was bad, and the pregame dance where he made light of the incident was worse, but this new episode where Arenas "sacrificed" himself for the sake of the team takes the cake.

Young very well may deserve more time on the court, and when he received the opportunity to play Young performed well, but is that really Arenas' decision to make?

Last time I checked Flip Saunders was the Wizards' coach, and if he really felt Young deserved more time, then I have no doubts he would give them to him.

But, it looks like Young may get his fill of minutes eventually and they will likely come from Arenas, since the Wizards have made it clear they no longer feel his presence is needed.

The only problem is, what team in their right mind would trade for him?

Call it coincidence or call it irony, but one night after faking an injury Arenas suffered a groin pull that only complicates matters since, those types of injuries usually take longer to recover from.

But even if Arenas was healthy and able to play tomorrow he has burned so many bridges in Washington, that few teams would be willing to risk the threat Arenas poses to chemistry.

By all accounts Arenas is genuinely a good guy with a goofy persona, and a love for practical jokes, but when you add in his numerous knee injuries, and constant clashes with management, he doesn't seem worth the risk.

Sadly, it's not even a matter of talent though, because Arenas proved during his brief return last year that he could still get to the rim at will, and he did score over 30 points in his first game back.

Arenas is a 22.7 points per game career scorer, but he has only appeared in 465 out of a possible 738 career regular season games, and there is also this to consider.

Why would a player whose recent career has been defined by injury choose to tempt fate by crying wolf?

Besides creating extremely bad karma, what type of message does it send to teams who may have been willing to take a chance on Arenas' damaged goods?

How does any potential trade partner know that this is just an isolated incident from Arenas, and that he has truly learned his lesson?

How can a team in good faith take a chance on Arenas, and then have to live with the lingering thought that any minor injury suffered from here on out is not another desperate plea for attention?

Because that's all it really boils down to.

Arenas has been so limited by injuries the past few seasons that the only way he has remained relevant in the NBA was by giving confusing sound bytes, and committing egregious acts.

Arenas may still have a few years of NBA-level play left in his weary body, but unless he learns to close his mouth and focus on the game, we may never get the chance to find out.