Unfortunately, things slowly went downhill from there -- he shot just 3-12 from the field and had a potentially game-winning three in the final seconds blocked -- but he did finish the game with a double-double, scoring 15 points with 10 assists and only one turnover in 29 minutes.
What's even better is that he took a few spills without appearing to favor his left knee, which has been operated on three times in the last 18 months.
Even though Arenas was back in the starting lineup, the pregame introductions still sounded different. Rashad Mobley of Hoops Addict, who was at the game, explains:
Arenas is officially introduced to a rousing ovation, and he calmly raises one finger in the air acknowledging the fans. He is not however the last player introduced. That distinction belongs to team co-captain Caron Butler. In his post game press conference, Arenas mentioned that it was "weird", but not that big of a deal. "It's not like the last player introduced wins a car," Arenas joked.After the game, Arenas was his usual jovial self (Mobley posted audio of Gil's entire post-game presser), even poking fun at himself for ignoring his self-imposed ban on talking to the media. "You know how I am," he said. "You know I'm wishy-washy."
Asked if that meant he might revive his recently retired blog, Arenas quickly shot down the notion. "No, no, no, not the blog. You guys were killing me [about] that blog." For more quirky quotes, check out Dan Steinberg, who once again has reason to blog about the Wizards.
A lot of people have questioned the wisdom of Arenas returning so late in the year after sitting out so long -- why not just sit out the entire year and improve their lottery standing? But given all that Arenas has been through, giving him a chance to test his knee before the summer is probably for the best, allowing both the player and the organization to head into the summer with one fewer question lingering in the background.
Plus, Arenas said that his comeback will be handled on a game by game basis and likely won't involve playing on consecutive days. With him bouncing in and out of the starting lineup, there's little "danger" of the Wizards catching fire and ruining their chances at catching the Kings for the worst record in the league.