In an interesting press conference after the game, Gilbert Arenas touched on his battle with injuries this season and discussed his reasons for going back to America to seek treatment on his recent groin injury.
Having started it by acknowledging that its been a rough season for the Sharks, Arenas was then asked what he did in America to return from injury and put up his 38 point masterclass against a strong Xinjiang team. The guard’s reply was candid;
When I got my last MRI here, they didn’t know how long it would take [to recover]; two weeks, four weeks, seven weeks- so I decided to go home and get some shots called Genokine. Kobe [Bryant] started it off by getting it in his knees, Tracy [McGrady] got it in his knees and his back. It helps take away the pain and helps healing. [I asked the doctors] to put it in my groin.
The mention of Genokine raised some eyebrows and created a minor scramble as reporters tried to find out exactly what this pain-killer was. There doesn’t appear to be such a treatment although Arenas was probably referring to Regenokine, which is the name of a treatment by which proteins are extracted from an individual’s body and then reinjected into the patient’s body. Both Bryant and McGrady have had this treatment in the past in Germany but as this ABC article notes, the process is available in limited places in America.
Then when asked why he didn’t get the shot earlier, Arenas replied;
The first time I pulled [the groin], they wanted to [treat the injury] with Chinese medicine. I didn’t even think about getting the shot. They said it would take about three weeks and I’d be recovered but it wasn’t [but] you know these things happen.
When Arenas says Chinese medicine, he isn’t referring to acupuncture and the like, but more that the medical treatment on the ground wasn’t going to get it done in time for him to have any meaningful kind of season.
But why the rush to come back? Well,excluding one of the greatest runs in Chinese basketball history, the Sharks will not be in the postseason. Moreover, Arenas- who had only played four mediocre games before he left America during the Christmas break- did not make the CBA All-Star ballot meaning that he would have zero reasons to still be in China after the Sharks final game on February 17th.
That said, if Arenas can have more performances like his recent one against Xinjiang over the next month, that’s plenty of highlight film to get an NBA team interested in his services once his current contract expires at the end of Shanghai’s final game. Moreover, Arenas’ potentially lucrative second life as a CBA marque name would be critically endangered if he does not have a strong end to his debut season in China.
In short: a flashy finish to his first year in Shanghai can easily be converted into a return to the NBA or possibly help lay the groundwork for a Chinese team to make him the cornerstone of their team in 2013/14 like Stephon Marbury is in Beijing right now. For pride, Shanghai need a strong end to the season but for Arenas, the long-term benefits might be much bigger.