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McGrady says he'll miss 3 weeks for knee rehab

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[December 03, 2008]  HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston guard Tracy McGrady will miss three weeks to rehabilitate his sore left knee, another blow to an injury-plagued season for the Rockets.

RestaurantMcGrady sat out Houston's last three games after starting the first 15. He had arthroscopic surgery on May 6, but said Tuesday that doctors have told him that the knee is not healed.

"Obviously, I came back a little bit too early," said McGrady, who was averaging 15.6 points. "I'm just not ready."

McGrady visited renowned orthopedist James Andrews on Monday. The team said Andrews confirmed the initial medical assessment by team doctor Tom Clanton that McGrady is suffering from general soreness in the knee.

Saturday will mark seven months since the surgery, and McGrady said doctors told him that his knee would require 6 to 8 months to heal. He said Andrews reassured him that he won't need more surgery.

"Now I've got some sort of peace of mind," McGrady said. "I don't have to worry about whether it's going to take the whole season for me to get healthy and what I've got to do for me to get back to 100 percent. I don't have to have to go under the knife again. I'm relieved."

McGrady felt like he was holding the team back, even though he's second in scoring, assists and steals. He was noticeably hobbled through long stretches of recent games and was shooting 40.7 percent from the field, three points below his career average.

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"I don't want to be out there limping like I was and not really being myself," he said.

Luther Head started the last two games in McGrady's place. He scored 21 points in a 103-84 win over San Antonio on Saturday, but went 1-for-7 with only three points in Sunday's 104-94 loss to Denver.

Coach Rick Adelman has been juggling lineups all season because of injuries.

Shane Battier has missed 16 games already with persistent inflammation in his left foot, Ron Artest has been limited lately by a sprained ankle and Yao missed one game with a sore left foot, which was surgically repaired this spring. The Rockets said Monday that backup guard Brent Barry is out two weeks with a torn muscle in his right leg.

"It's kind of been a never-ending story this year, with guys in and out," Adelman said.

McGrady has been listed as "day to day" lately in the Rockets' game notes. He made a last-minute decision not to play in the Rockets' 91-90 loss to Indiana last Wednesday, then said he would miss two more games and visit Dr. Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Adelman wants McGrady to take all the time he needs.

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"When he does go out on the court, he's got to be able to push himself," Adelman said. "If he can't go through it, then it's best for him not to play until he feels comfortable doing that. That's been my stance right along."

Adelman acknowledged that McGrady's condition had become a distraction for the Rockets, who were 11-7 and leading the Southwest Division heading into Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We just don't know when he was going to play, or if he was going to play," Adelman said. "If you know someone is out, you just go, you plug somebody in. It's been a problem, because Shane's coming back and you try to limit his minutes and Yao's minutes somewhat. It's not easy for anybody, but it's reality and what we have to face."

Battier said the Rockets are glad to finally have a definitive timeline on McGrady's status.

"You want certainty of knowing what you have going forward," he said.

McGrady missed 12 games last season with various injuries to the same knee and sat out nine games in 2006-07 with back pain. The seven-time All-Star is confident that as long as he rehabs properly, he'll regain his old form this season.

"I'm fortunate enough that I will be able to overcome this," he said. "I don't have to worry about losing any of my quickness, my explosiveness. I should be ready to go by the end of this month."

[Associated Press; By CHRIS DUNCAN]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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