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Pain from nagging hip, groin injuries worsens

HOUSTON -- Tracy McGrady missed most of the Rockets' practice Wednesday because of a strained hip flexor and groin injuries, yet
another sign that the two-time NBA scoring champ will probably sit out Thursday's game against Minnesota.

McGrady left midway through the third quarter of Tuesday's game
against Memphis with strains in his right hip and groin and didn't
return. He was still limping through some shooting drills during
practice the next afternoon.

McGrady said the pain had gotten worse but still held out hope
that he'd be ready to go against the Timberwolves.

"It's a sharp pain with every movement," McGrady said. "It's
really limiting me. If I feel I can go, I'll be ready to play. I'm
not counting tomorrow out just yet."

McGrady said his hip and groin started bothering him during
Friday's game at Memphis. He reaggravated the injury late in the
first half of a 90-87 win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday.

McGrady, acquired from the Orlando Magic in an offseason trade,
played through a similar injury last year, going scoreless in a
December game against the New York Knicks. He missed 15 games last
year with a variety of injuries.

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy didn't seem too concerned about the
possibility of playing without McGrady for a game or two.

"I haven't even thought about it," Van Gundy said. "If a guy
is out, another guy has more of an opportunity. It's not who plays
for us, it's how we play."

However, the sight of a hobbled McGrady was unnerving for many
of his new teammates.

"We'll have to play more hard," center Yao Ming said. "It
will make things different."

Third-year swingman Bostjan Nachbar would replace McGrady in the
starting lineup. Nachbar has started only four games in the past
two years, and is averaging four points and 2.5 rebounds in about
16 minutes a game this season.