ORLANDO, Fla, March 22 (Ticker) -- Tracy McGrady
went down hard, and the rest of the Orlando Magic followed.
McGrady was hospitalized with severe back spasms after a crushing collision midway through the second quarter and the Magic missed their superstar in a 106-92 loss to the surging Charlotte Hornets that snapped their season-high seven-game winning streak.
The Magic trailed 36-31 when McGrady drove the left baseline and was fouled by George Lynch
. The slender swingman was knocked into Charlotte 280-pound forward Robert "Tractor" Traylor
and landed hard on his right heel trying to keep his balance.
The force of the landing appeared to affect McGrady's back and he went down nearly face-first underneath the basket. A hush came over the TD Waterhouse Centre crowd as he lay there for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher to Florida Hospital, where an MRI and X-rays were negative.
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Jamal Mashburn led all scorers with 29, and flirted with a triple-double.
"You think a guy like him is going to go out because of a chronic thing," Magic forward Pat Garrity
said. "That was just a funny hit. He went down hard."
"It's scary, especially for a player of his caliber, a guy as cool as he is, to get hurt," Hornets guard Baron Davis
said. "I didn't want to see that happen. I just went over there and told him, `Be strong.'"
McGrady has been bothered by lower back pain throughout the season. His coach had no idea how long McGrady would be out.
"I don't think he'll be back tomorrow or Sunday," Doc Rivers said. "After that, it'll probably be day-to-day. I think he wrenched it. I really don't know, honestly, I just know it's his back. The preliminary report is that he's in the hospital and they're going to keep him overnight and we're going to go from there."
Already without injured forward Mike Miller, the Magic were not much of a match for the Hornets, who won their fifth straight game.
"We're running out of guys," Rivers said. "This is tough for us. I thought the guys came with a good spirit and a good frame of mind today and ready to play today, and when your best player goes out, it's very difficult."
"We missed him tonight; he's our leader," Magic guard Darrell Armstrong
said. "Miss a lot of his scoring ability, the way he posts up, he finds guys open shots because teams have to double-team." Jamal Mashburn
scored 29 points to lead five players in double figures for Charlotte (35-33), which remained tied with Indiana for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets also had an injury, losing starting center Elden Campbell
to a strained right hamstring in the first quarter.
"He said during the game that the hamstring was bothering him too much to go in the second half," Hornets coach Paul Silas said. Troy Hudson
scored 23 points and Armstrong added 22 for the Magic (37-31), who remained fourth in the East.
Orlando hung around without McGrady, trailing 51-47 at halftime and actually opening a 62-58 lead on a basket by Armstrong midway through the third period. Charlotte's P.J. Brown
scored to trigger a 13-0 run that featured five points from Davis and opened a 71-62 advantage with 3:12 left.
"We knew they were going to come after us," Silas said. "But they just didn't have enough. They really played hard after he went down. You never can take a team for granted, even when their main star goes down."
The Magic trailed 83-72 after three quarters and got no closer than eight points thereafter as Mashburn scored seven points in the final period. David Wesley
scored 21 points, Davis added 15 and 13 assists and Brown 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Hornets, who shot 51 percent (42-of-82) from the field and held a 47-39 rebounding advantage.
"They're jockeying for a position. We're jockeying for a position," Brown said. "It's an all-out war. That's the way it's going to be for them the rest of the way and for us."
McGrady and Monty Williams
scored 11 points each for the Magic, who shot 47 percent (39-of-83).