McGrady misses third straight game with back injury

Updated: January 15, 2006, 1:24 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady missed Saturday night's game against New Orleans, the 11th game he's sat out this season because of back problems.

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The Rockets lost all 10 previous games they've played without McGrady. Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy gave no timetable for when McGrady might return.

"When he feels like he's capable of playing and the trainers and doctors concur and I concur, then he'll go back out there and play," Van Gundy said.

McGrady collapsed in pain with severe back spasms just before halftime of last Sunday's loss to Denver. He left the floor on a stretcher, was taken to a hospital and missed the Rockets' next two games.

McGrady practiced on Friday and said he felt good enough to play, but left the final decision to Van Gundy.

McGrady, who first developed back problems when he played in Orlando, strained his back in practice on Nov. 4 and missed three games. He returned for four games, then missed the next five when the back pain returned.

McGrady said Friday that the injury is starting to take a psychological toll.

"You're just afraid to make certain movements out there," McGrady said. "You think about, 'OK, if I go up on this jump shot, what's going to happen on the landing?' All kinds of things go through your head."

McGrady is one of six Rockets players out with either injuries or illness. Houston's other star, 7-6 Yao Ming, has missed 12 games since undergoing toe surgery in late December. Yao is expected to be out at least another two weeks.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press