Artest reportedly out longer

It looked good on paper: a triple threat of Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest that could finally take the Houston Rockets deep into the playoffs. They just can't get them all on the court at the same time.

The Houston Chronicle reported on Tuesday that Artest will miss another seven to 10 days because of soreness related to a November ankle sprain. He has already missed four of the last five games and was ruled out for Tuesday's big game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The news comes a day after the Rockets shut down McGrady who is struggling to regain strength in the knee he had surgically repaired in May. McGrady is supposed to take the next two weeks to try to get his body in shape to play.

McGrady, who is averaging 15.4 points per game, has already missed 11 games this season.

Artest is the Rockets' second-leading scorer at 16.0 per game. Yao, who has played in 38 of 39 games this season, leads the team at 19.5 points and also adds 9.5 rebounds per game.

Despite the injuries, the Rockets entered play on Tuesday at 24-15, only 1½ games out of first place in the Southwest Division.