View Full Version : McGrady likely out against Pacers

03-26-2004, 11:19 AM

Orlando Magic Coach Johnny Davis figured Tracy McGrady needed a breather when he asked to be excused from Wednesday night's game against Miami with the Heat's rout already in progress.

On Thursday, McGrady showed up at RDV Sportsplex, but did not practice, saying his left knee was too sore.

He is listed as questionable for tonight's game against the Indiana Pacers.

"Tracy's having a little difficulty with the knee," Davis said. "I don't know when it happened or how it happened."

Davis could only shake his head.

It has been that kind of season for the Magic (19-54). And now who rolls into town but the team with the best record in the NBA -- the Pacers (52-19).

The Pacers will be without their star player -- center Jermaine O'Neal, who is out with a bruised knee.

Indiana leads the season series 2-1. Orlando, in one of its few memorable moments this season, upset the Pacers 94-90 on Dec. 17 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The last time the teams met, on Jan. 6 in Indianapolis, O'Neal had 25 points and McGrady 43 in the Pacers' 114-107 victory.

McGrady did not show any visible signs of being injured during the Magic's lackluster 105-90 loss to the Heat.

With three minutes, 39 seconds left, and the Magic trailing by 14, Davis said McGrady asked to be taken out. Davis told McGrady he would quickly put him back in the game if the team twitched to life, but it never did.

CPR could not have resuscitated the Magic.

They needed the Tracy McGrady action-hero that now is appearing in an NBA comic book to leap onto the floor and save the day. But McGrady looked mortal, recording his second consecutive 18-point game -- 10 off his league-leading average.

Perhaps it was the pain in his knee or just this painful season. He never looked energized, his emotions parked elsewhere. He returned for his first game since scoring just 18 against Golden State last Wednesday in Oakland.

He missed the last two games on the recent West Coast trip to attend the funeral of his great-grandmother, who he says basically raised him.

There have been far more lows than highs for T-Mac.

McGrady is 16 days removed from the game of his life -- his career-best 62-point performance against the Washington Wizards -- and one of his better stretches. He put together games of 62, 40 and 37 points, although the Magic lost two of those games.

If McGrady can't play tonight, Davis said he would start rookie small forward Keith Bogans.

In a domino effect produced by McGrady's possible absence, Davis said he would give Drew Gooden some time at small forward. The Magic tried playing Gooden at the position earlier in the season, but didn't deem the experiment a success.

Gooden has been primarily backing up veteran Juwan Howard at power forward.

Gooden, a second-year pro who has struggled with his role, is coming off two of his better outings. He scored 23 points against the Heat and had 17 against the Seattle SuperSonics. He also has a combined four blocks and 15 rebounds in the two games.

The Magic want to get a read on Gooden and rookie reserve center Zaza Pachulia, 19, before they head into their most critical off-season.

Brian Schmitz can be reached at bschmitz@orlandosentinel.com

03-26-2004, 11:25 AM
If nothing else, Ron will get a little break tonite.

Give the Magic a stamp for this season. T-Mac can lick it.

03-26-2004, 11:27 AM
Hey David Whitley writes for the Orlando Sentinal :laugh:

Hill debacle is unfortunate, not unethical
Published March 25, 2004

Grant Hill should give up the money.

No, it's not his fault.

What's the ethical thing to do?

It's been the underlying debate in the Great Ankle Debacle, now in its 14th paperback printing. Hill has taken so much and given so little. He had no choice when it came to giving. As for the taking, here's a letter I'd like to see:

Q: I signed a seven-year, $93 million contract to play basketball, but an injury has sidelined me about 90 percent of the time. So far, I've pocketed about $50 million. If I tear up my contract or retire, the company stands to recover much more quickly from the pathetic state my situation helped create. What should I do?

-- Anonymous in Orlando.

You know what a lot of fans would say. If it were me, guilt would have set in after the first $30 million. I would have sprung the Magic from salary-cap prison, taken my art collection and retired to a monastery.

Easy for me to say. But I'm not comfortable telling anyone to limp away from a pot of gold they have every right to accept. So I called an authority on doing the right thing. At what point should Grant Hill stop taking paychecks?

"At no point," Randy Cohen said.

He writes the nationally syndicated "The Ethicist" column for The New York Times Magazine. That makes him a bit more qualified than the average fan, much less the average sports writer, to tell Hill what to do.

"I realize it's hard for fans, but he has no obligation to give the money back," Cohen said.

Hard? The Ethicist doesn't know the half of it. You certainly can't blame everything on Hill, but the ankle has been the albatross for four years.

It must be said, this isn't Shawn Kemp taking millions and getting fat. Hill has rehabbed, cheered, read to schoolchildren and done everything possible to earn his keep.

He might return next season. But the only way the Magic could have, or will ever get cap relief is if Hill retires and refuses more money. And how many people would do that?

Well, there's Dominic Hasek. After getting injured this season, Detroit's goalie turned down the remaining $3 million he was due. Is that what Magic boss John Weisbrod means when he says he wants more of a hockey mentality on the team?

Hasek's sacrifice doesn't mean the other 99.99 percent of pro jocks are greedy. But how many Bentleys does a guy need? Even if it didn't provide cap relief, how about donating your salary to land-mine survivors?

It gets awfully frustrating to Mazda-driving fans. But Cohen said aim the disgust at Orlando for not protecting itself when it signed a player who hobbled off the plane.

Course, if the Magic insisted on an injury clause, Hill would have signed elsewhere. Cohen said anticipating ethical qualms is the best way to avoid them. The NBA should revise its rules so that one bad decision won't gut a franchise for seven years.

"You have to reform the law," Cohen said. "You can't put it all on one individual for not bailing the team out."

True, only how admirable would that be?

The Ethicist is right, however. It's not fair to expect Hill to give up his salary. Would you? But as long as The Debacle lingers, so will the debate.

"A lot of times things are unfortunate," Cohen said, "but not unethical."

It seems there was only one way out of this.

Instead of Hill, the Magic should have signed Hasek.

David Whitley can be reached at dwhitley@orlandosentinel.com.

I guess now we know what he looks like. Maybe the Orlando fans like all the trade ideas.

03-26-2004, 01:35 PM

03-26-2004, 03:36 PM
I smell blood :devil: :devil:

03-26-2004, 03:44 PM
They needed the Tracy McGrady action-hero that now is appearing in an NBA comic book to leap onto the floor and save the day. But McGrady looked mortal, recording his second consecutive 18-point game -- 10 off his league-leading average.

An NBA comic book...? Anyone know anything about this? Even if it's lame and gimmicky I think I'd still like to take a look at it.

Center of media

tora tora
03-26-2004, 05:18 PM
should be an easy win tonight, give Brezec about 25 minutes and let's see what he can do...