Arenas has MRI on left knee, return this season uncertain

WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas is increasing the intensity of his workouts in an attempt to return this season from knee surgery.

The All-Star guard had an MRI on his surgically repaired left knee Monday. He underwent surgery Nov. 21.

"They said everything healed," Arenas said before Washington played Atlanta Monday night. "They want me to ramp it back up -- go full speed."

Arenas said he would work out Monday night, and see how it feels Tuesday. Arenas said one doctor who examined him recommended he work out strenuously for 12 days.

"If it feels the same as I feel now, I might just play," Arenas said.

Upon his return, he'll have to scale back his game, he says.

"When I come back, it's just an assist game. They don't want me jumping and being acrobatic," Arenas said. "This year, don't go back trying to be me -- just come back and try to be an assist man and stay out of the hole and just to be careful."

Arenas had earlier targeted March 2 as a return date -- and he wasn't able to meet that goal. Now he's not even guaranteeing he'll play this season.

"I don't know. I'm hoping. I do want to play," Arenas said.

Washington is in position to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The 26-year-old Arenas, who also had surgery on the knee last April, has played in just eight games this season, and he's announced plans to opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent. There's been speculation that he wouldn't play in the remainder of his team's game to preserve his value.

"That is the smartest thing to do, let's be honest," he conceded. "But at the end of the day, I still love the game of basketball."

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan still looks forward to having Arenas return.

"There's no timetable for Gilbert. He's showing improvement. We're going to pick up his workouts a little bit more intense, and then take a reading," Jordan said. "We like the fact that he's improving remarkably well."