McGrady taken to hospital with severe back spasms

Updated: January 9, 2006, 2:07 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Houston star Tracy McGrady left Sunday night's game against Denver with a recurrence of severe back spasms.

Houston Rockets

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The 6-foot-9 McGrady, who missed eight games earlier in the season because of back spasms, missed a deep jumper near the top of the key in the final seconds of the first half. He started backpedalling, stopped abruptly, bent over and crumpled to the floor, screaming in pain as the buzzer sounded.

McGrady was lifted onto a stretcher and rolled off the floor, surrounded by several team officials and owner Les Alexander. An ambulance took McGrady to the hospital.

"I heard him moaning and groaning," Alexander said. "It was really sad to see a guy be in that much pain."

Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said after the game that McGrady was getting an MRI and would be re-evaluated on Monday.

Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy was evasive about McGrady's condition.

"You know what? It's about winning in this league," Van Gundy said. "It's not about trying, that should be a given."

McGrady's doctor reassured Alexander by phone after the game.

"The doctor told me he thinks it's a bad back spasm and hopefully, he'll be OK," Alexander said. "He doesn't think it's anything serious that will keep him out for a long time."

The Rockets are already missing their other star, Yao Ming, who's out at least another month after surgery to remove an infection from his left big toe.

Guards Rafer Alston and Jon Barry recently returned from leg injuries and Derek Anderson remains sidelined with a calf strain. The backcourt trio has missed a total of 45 games this season.

McGrady had topped 30 points in Houston's last five games. He had 11 points on 5-for-14 shooting in the first half against Denver.

"That's sports and we can't do anything about it," Alexander said. "We've got to play with the players we have. What can you do? You have no choice."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press