Monday, October 5th, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  45 responses

T-Mac Gingerly Making His Way Back

by Marcel Mutoni

To understand just how deep of a hole Tracy McGrady had fallen into, consider the fact that when he shows up for practice these days, it makes the news.

T-Mac is putting his basketball life together again, and one encouraging sign this past weekend — for Mac, the Rockets, and their fans –  was the Rockets’ star practicing with his teammates for the first time since knee surgery last year.

McGrady is doing his best to manage expectations, and not get peoples’ hopes up too much (a wise decision), but according to those who saw him on the court, things look promising.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Perhaps the setting was fitting, a reminder of how far Tracy McGrady must go. But for the first time since microfracture surgery last spring, McGrady, 30, practiced with the Rockets on Sunday. He went through a few stints of the scrimmage, moving well and without pain in a small, but significant step in his comeback.

His first participation in training camp did not alter his schedule. General manager Daryl Morey said it was “part of the process.” The Rockets expect McGrady to be out at least until an MRI scheduled for Nov. 23. Still, he played and all reports were that he played well.

Clearly, he’s nowhere near ready for true NBA action — something he only managed to 35 times last season — but for the Rockets, what matters is that T-Mac appears to be moving in the right direction.

Not much is expected of the Houston Rockets in 2009-’10. If they can somehow get one of their two superstars on the court, and healthy again, the season could then be viewed as something of a success.

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  • T Money

    Man, I remember a few years back T Mac finished top five in MVP voting. I really hope that his enduring legacy is not that he got defeated by injuries.

  • LeoneL

    Wishing him all the best. Loved his love for Darfur.

  • Nupe

    Healthy, he’s one of the best in the league – I’d say top 20 maybe even top 10. I hope he comes back strong, but I think his legacy as the superstar who couldn’t win a championship or the superstar defeated by injury is pretty much already written. I think he may end up like a Grant Hill – a great player that becomes limitted due to injury. Still has game and can contribute, but just a shell of what they once were.

  • Hussman25

    This is the same path Penny Hardaway (the one T-Mac has been compaired to mostly his entire career) went down and was never fully able to regain his game… Hopefully T-Mac won’t go down the same one! HOPEFULLY! We shall soon find out… Get well soon Tracy, your legacy depends on it (On the court anyway, off it your doing just fine… The Darfur Doc was a great move!)

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Well he said his idol was penny hardaway, I guess he got to follow in his footsteps.

  • foolio_iglesias

    Sometimes your mind writes checks that your body can’t cash.At some point your body just says ‘no’,and if you are wise enough,you learn to say ‘ok’….the Rockets are attempting to get T Mac healthy enough to trade….

  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    Bring back the beast! I remember idolizing him in my middle school days wanting to play just like him. Never happened, but whatever. Great talent to watch, even better to admire someone so similar to Penny (my all time favorite pg). Too bad he’s gotten derailed by injuries, here’s hoping you come back to at least half of what you were just a few years ago Tracy.

  • helterskelter

    i bet coming back to a roster like this brings back memories of his magic glory days…full of blowouts and 0-20 starts

  • T Money

    I can’t believe he’s only 30. T Mac could still squeeze out a few good seasons. He has proven he can be a difference maker without freakish athleticism. I hope the Rockets trade him to a contender

  • rog123

    Healthy he is arguably THE best player in the game. Very balanced game offensively and defensively. Not to mention capable of dropping 50 any night. “WHEN HEALTHY”

  • Marcus

    Penny was better all around. Good lick t- mac

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    That was not funny, Bryan.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I disagree. Penny was a better playmaker and he often played the point, but T-Mac can also make plays, as he handles the ball a lot. T-Mac is the better scorer, too.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson


  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    Russ wins. It’s hard to imagine that he was once seen as legendary, injuries have robbed us of spectacular players in their prime.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    If he had stayed healthy in his career, and won a playoff series or two, that Vitamin Water ad last year would’ve gone “24.” “Nah man, 23.” “Fool, is you crazy? 1!!!!”

  • Slam Reader

    You be alright Mac, we love you Tracy!!!

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven Duece

    I saw him wreak havoc first hand during his Orlando days and it would be a shame for him not to go out at least somewhat healthy. His unbelievable arrogance aside, he’s the type of player that’s easy to root for.

  • Mike Klander

    I gotta root for Tracy on this one. It’s sad to see a player of his calibre come under this much strain. I don’t want him to turn out to be another Penny Hardaway, which is ironically his favourite player. Both of these guys were amongst the best in their day and circumstances that were somewhat out of their control do them in. I’m hoping Tracy can climb his way out of this one.

  • http://IJustWantMyNameToLookBig.com Chukaz

    What the f*ck is wrong with you ppl? Penny? Why compare him to that dude? Mac is a 1st ballot hall of famer. He’s had an incredible career that has lasted over a decade. He’s a 7 time all star. A few years ago he didn’t make the team but he still finished top 5 in mvp voting. Get out of here with the penny comparisons. Injuries have screwed him the last few years, but he’s had 10 healthy year in the league. When this dude is healthy, the only player in the league that is better than him is Kobe and that’s real talk.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Look, best of luck to him.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    No way is T-Mac a first ballot Hall of Famer. Not anymore. Sorry dude.

  • Hussman25

    Chuckaz…My man… Penny was used to sum up or compare talent level vs. the way injuries can affect one’s career… “Why compare him to that dude?” Because Penny’s career was just like Mac;s till the knees began to go…. Mac’s knees started to go a few years ago, so we are all speaking in term of how injuries have (or can) hurt these two players careers… Penny was an all-star caliber player, and so too is Mac… So what are you really saying? Relax… T-Mac is the better “player” but that don’t mean S**T if you don’t have any knees to run or stand on! Mac just Idolized Penny tooooo much… Now their careers may be sumed up in one word… Underachievers… Come back and talk to me about someone being the 2nd best in the world once Mac gets out of the 1st round… (not as a spectator while YAO took them to the 2nd)… It’s all luv.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Klav

    I agree, with what T-Mac has accumulated over the last few years, I think it will keep him out of the Hall. What accomplishments does he have to show for it? No college career seeing as how he made the jump straight to the L, 2 time scoring champion, most improved player award, 7 All-Stars, and made All-NBA 6 times. He himself has not played in a playoff series where he advanced to the semi’s, and he has had multiple seasons plagued by injuries. And to top it all off, now he’s 30 already on his decline. No Hall of Fame for a player that “could have been.”

  • http://myspace.com/datboifabio Fabio

    I hope he comes back and at least does semi ok

  • RV

    Let me point out this is the rockets’ timetable…Tmac says he’s ready to go for opening day, the rockets wanted to be extra cautious and wait an extra month

  • don

    somehow i wish that the rockets’ string on bad luck would turn around

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I believe he’ll come back as a good player.

  • http://www.oprah.com doyouwantmore

    “T-Mac don’t even like basketball.”

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    You need to amend that statement doyouwantmore by clicking my username and reading the RV piece on Tracy.

  • KH10

    i agree with Chukaz, people talk about Tracy like he never reached his potential, dude has better career numbers than Penny, Ghill or Pippen and has been healthy for most of it.
    Oh and the 13 points against the spurs! that was insane.

  • rog123

    If tmac and yao stayed healthy, maybe picked up a couple rings, tmac would be in the same talk as kobe, bron and wade

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling/index276.html chiqo

    grant hill excepted, those guys were winners. hill couldn’t help that he had to carry those pistons teams on his own. or that he screwed his ankle trying to play hurt. even he is questionable, he has a career of what ifs.

  • http://fdsjklf.com Jukai

    KH10: Better career numbers? You mean in scoring? Certainly not in other categories. Look at percentages.
    McGrady: 22-6-4.7 on 43%
    Hill: 18.7-6.6-4.8 on 49%
    Pippen: 16-6.4-5.2 on 47% (but defense which dwarfs the other two)
    Poor Penny just played too injured, his career numbers are mauled.
    I still think my all injury team of Penny, McGrady, Hill, Webber, and Alanzo would dominateeeee.

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Penny was way better than t-mac. We were all robbed because of the injuries to penny but t-mac just excelled at a sport he didn’t even care for very much. He doesn’t even like basketball. Penny was something else. I’d take him over grant hill any day in their prime. Penny was a bad man!

  • Bravo1

    Tmac,”when healthy” skill wise is even better than kobe… Kobe plays better better defense though…

  • La Maravilla

    Yo cb 34 u need to stop doing drugs bro!!!! T-Mac is T-Mac was and T-Mac will be 100 times way better the garbage @zz penny hardaway is just like u say T-Mac just excelled at the sport of basketball something penny couldn’t do cause he was hurt all his life and like u say T-Mac didn’t even like basketball just imagine if he really like basketball he be the second best player in the NBA right now with out even playing the game T-Mac is a monster and nobody can’t stop him when he is injurie free NOBODY

  • Steve

    Healthy at today (1-3 spots)


  • Steve

    That said, he ain’t healthy.

  • rog123

    Cp3 is not 3rd best in the nba. It d.howard.

  • rog123

    I never saw penny play, when he was healthy, but he seems like a player that was ahead of his time. A bigger point guard who could play the 1spot – 3spot.

  • http://fdsjklf.com Jukai

    rog123: Yeah, there was never anyone who was like that before him (hint: Magic)

  • Steve

    rog123: I don’t remember D Howard playing at the 1, 2 or 3 spots any time recently. Top 3 in the league yes, but not on the wings. Overall league ranking T-Mac when healthy is top ten.

  • rudy

    u guys are all dum penny never reached his full potential due to injuries and had he reached it he wont be anywhere near t-mac.look at career stats before runnung ur mouths.t-mac is way better player just very banged up during his prime

  • http://aol kyle

    t-mac is the greatest basketball player of all time