McGrady misses third straight game with back injury

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.

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

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.