Nov. 23, 2009. The date Tracy McGrady was scheduled to go through with his first full practice with the team and get the results of his ever so anticipated MRI. On a day in which was supposed to answer many questions, only more came afloat.
The first set of news was that McGrady practiced with the team, but Adelman and Battier were not present, Battier due to a sore ankle, and Adelman due to personal reasons.
But just under an hour ago, sina.com released their pictures of the Rockets practice, in which Battier was evidently there. Some speculate it may not be from today, but with the pictures from McGrady's interview, in which most Rocket fans saw, and Adelman not being there, all signs point towards the pictures being taken earlier today.
With Adelman not there, that left Elson Turner in charge of deciphering when Tracy would come back.
"He looked good. He looked better than what he did earlier in training camp. He’s shooting the ball well. He’s going to the basket. It’s a little different (than going against McGrady in the past.) Once he gets a couple games under his belt, in game situations, he’ll be good. He’ll be back to what he used to be."
He also had this to say, with a slightly lesser optimistic view:
"It's a long season and we're going to take our time," he said. "We all have his best interests in our thoughts. We'll bring him back when we feel like he can consistently not miss a beat."
It seems, the Rockets are being cautious. Which would be the right move, but how long is this going to last, as this same story has been going on for multiple weeks now?
"He's gone through a major surgery and it's a process to get him back on the court full-time," he said. "When you're building a team there's chemistry that players develop. So when he does come back we would like him to be back instead of in a week, out a week, in a week. It messes up our chemistry."
Later, Rockets fan site, clutchfans.com reported that Adelman didn't want Tracy McGrady back.
Source tells ClutchFans that Adelman has no interest in playing T-Mac. Zero. Says: "This isn't going to end well"
This doesn't come as much surprise as Adelman seemed to have been noticeably irked by Tracy these past couple of weeks. While the heated arguments between the two were denied, Adelman never optimistically has spoke about McGrady, and the possible impact he can have on the team.
Again, I personally feel it's a case of being cautious of the situation, not to have a repeat of last year, and the fact Adelman has soured on McGrady's fit with the new look run and gun Houston Rockets.
Later, McGrady's MRI results were revealed which created even more confusion.
”Today's MRI showed no change from the test previously conducted in September. Tracy is on a normal course of recovery and has the expected level of performance for someone at his stage following micro-fracture surgery. We will continue to monitor his progress over the coming weeks to ensure that pain and swelling are kept to a minimum after further periods of practice participation."
In which then Jonathon Feigan, the Rockets' beat writer, tweeted:
Rockets team Doc Walter Lowe: McGrady will be evaluated "over the coming weeks." Doesn't sound as if he is playing anytime soon.
So what does this all mean? Has McGrady's knee made no progress from September? Is he still swelling and enduring pain that he has to get it monitored? Everyone has seen the videos of his workouts, or the comments of his progression, it's not possible that nothing has changed, right?
McGrady was clearly frustrated after practice. Not specifically at the Rockets, or Adelman, but at the media for blowing up things to make it larger than it seems.
But it's hard not to speculate, given the reported heated arguments with McGrady and Adelman. The accusations of the Rockets just trying to save money by sitting McGrady out, and one side saying one thing, and the other saying another. What's going on? Nobody knows.
Is the Rockets organization screwing T-Mac, or is it the other way around?
McGrady has likely worn out his welcome in Houston, but it'd be wrong for the organization not to play him if he were healthy—because his game could potentially take the Rockets to the next level, and give them something they sorely lack, a player that can create his own shot down the stretch of games.
If the rumors from Clutchfans have validity to them, then it's likely the end of the McGrady era in Houston. The problem is they wouldn't get any sort of value except different expiring—or bad contracts. A buyout would seem to drastic, and it wouldn't be like a classy Houston Rockets franchise to hold him out, essentially getting back at McGrady.
Some want him gone, others want to give him a chance.
Either way, no one knows the situation as it stands. It's time for the Rockets organization to stop hiding from the media and the fans, and tell us the truth.