WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards have waited nearly four months for Gilbert Arenas.

Now, he says the wait might be nearly over. Arenas, the Wizards' guard who underwent surgery on his left knee on Nov. 21, has been practicing with the team since March 4.

Arenas, who's participated in four practices, says he's going to get an MRI on Tuesday — "just to make sure nothing's wrong."

If he's given clearance by team doctors, "then, I guess that means I'll play," he said.

Arenas' brief comments, before Washington's game on Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, came as a surprise to coach Eddie Jordan.

"All right, we'll see how it goes. I haven't had any updates on him yet," Jordan said. "That's for me to find out sooner rather than later. That's not for me to know right now."

His return could come in Orlando on March 19.

Besides missing Arenas for all but eight games, Washington has been without center Etan Thomas, who had open heart surgery in October. Thomas will undergo a CT scan next week, and if that goes well, he may be able to step up his practice schedule.

"I'm staying away from contact," Thomas said. "I want everything to be set and healed the way it should be."

Also, Wizards center Brendan Haywood was out for the game against the Clippers with a left patella tendon strain. According to a Wizards spokesman, Haywood suffered the injury in Thursday's game against Cleveland. Haywood is averaging 10.6 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. Darius Songaila started in his place.

CLIPPERS' THORNTON OUT: Forward Al Thornton left the Clippers' game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday night with a right leg contusion and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Thornton, a 6-foot-8 rookie from Florida State, was injured late in the second quarter.

Thornton, averaging 12 points per game, had eight points in 12 minutes.