yeah, the manga is wayyyy ahead of the anime...but I think in the anime Gaara is the *coughcoughkazekagecoughcough* because he was wearing the clothes he wears as a ^ *look up* and yeah...unless they just wanted to change his clothes...
but, this is only a rumor, some of you people probably know this:
they are possibly thinking of airing Naruto on Adult swim on cartoon network, scary thought, isn't it? Well wait until you hear the idea for the voices:
Gaara: Kaibas voice
Sakura: Misty from Pokemons voice
Naruto: Vashs voice from Trigun