McGrady's Rockets return uncertain
HOUSTON -- Tracy McGrady returned to practice with the Houston Rockets for the first time since microfracture surgery in February on Monday, but the seven-time All-Star still doesn't know when he'll play.
I'm ready to play basketball. Everybody is making a big deal because I say I'm ready and GM and my coach say I'm not ready. Everybody wants to make a big deal that I'm this diva ... It's crazy.” -- Tracy McGrady
McGrady said he can play now, but Rockets coach Rick Adelman has said he's not ready.
Adelman missed practice Monday to attend to a personal matter and was not available for comment. Assistant coach Elston Turner said "it's a process" to get McGrady back.
The 30-year-old McGrady said the difference of opinion between he and Rockets officials is not a problem, but he's upset people have faulted him for wanting to return now.
"I'm ready to play basketball," he said. "Everybody is making a big deal because I say I'm ready and GM and my coach say I'm not ready. Everybody wants to make a big deal that I'm this diva ... It's crazy."
McGrady was set to undergo an MRI on his surgically repaired left knee late Monday which he says is "irrelevant," but that the team wants to review before any decision on his return is made.
"It's not going to tell them whether I can play or not," McGrady said.
He hasn't been told when he will be activated, but is confident it will be "really soon." Turner's comments after practice didn't seem to indicate McGrady will get his wish.
"It's a long season and we're going to take our time," he said. "We all have his best interests in our thoughts. We'll bring him back when we feel like he can consistently not miss a beat."
Houston is 8-6 so far this season, two games behind Dallas in the Southwest Division.
Turner noted that the Rockets don't want to bring McGrady back too quickly, only to have him experience a setback.
"He's gone through a major surgery and it's a process to get him back on the court full-time," he said. "When you're building a team there's chemistry that players develop. So when he does come back we would like him to be back instead of in a week, out a week, in a week. It messes up our chemistry."
McGrady knows he won't automatically return to the player he was before the injury in his first games, but insists he has to play to build up to that point. He said rhythm and consistency will be big factors when he returns.
"I don't care how great of a player you are, if you've been out it takes time," he said. "You've got to play in games to gain your rhythm. As far as getting up and down, and doing things that I couldn't do last year, I'm capable of doing that night in and night out."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press