The good news for the Houston Rockets is that Tracy McGrady hasn't suffered any serious damage to his knee. The Rockets, however, are going to be cautious about pushing their star player too hard.

Even without their leading scorer, the Rockets (13-15) hope to take advantage of the struggling Grizzlies when they visit Memphis on Friday.

McGrady has been bothered a sore left knee for a while, but the problem seemed to get worse in a 94-82 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. McGrady did not play in the second half, finishing with 14 points.

On Thursday, Houston announced he will miss the next two games to rest the knee. The Rockets said an MRI on Monday revealed swollen tendons in the knee, but no structural damage.

McGrady missed last Wednesday's game against Denver after sitting out the second half of the previous day's game against Orlando. He played 30 minutes against Chicago on Saturday, but was limited to 20 minutes on Sunday.

Coach Rick Adelman believes McGrady aggravated the injury on a dunk late in the second quarter against the Pistons.

"He was moving around pretty well at the beginning of the game, but after that dunk, he started limping again," Adelman said. "You have to be concerned at this point."

McGrady is one of the league's top scorers at 22.8 points per game. He's been playing sporadic minutes over the last month, however, because of the knee problem.

On Sunday, not only did the Rockets have to play without McGrady in the second half, but they also lost Yao Ming for the final 15 minutes after he needed stitches to close a facial cut. Yao, who missed practice Thursday with flu-like symptoms, finished with 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

"We didn't have the energy," Adelman said. "We needed to push the ball and we were walking it up the court."

The Rockets are 0-3 without McGrady in the lineup this season and 2-12 the last two seasons. They could catch a break on Friday, however, facing one of the Western Conference's worst teams.

The Grizzlies (8-20), who are in last place in the Southwest Division, have lost three straight and 10 of 12, including a 116-98 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday.

Rudy Gay and Mike Miller each had 19 points for Memphis, which allowed the Hornets to shoot 55.8 percent from the field.

"We gave less effort," coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We got less tough and we stopped doing the effort things, which is not the way to find yourself getting back into the game when someone is hot. We didn't get enough out of anybody. I don't think there was one guy who jumped out and gave a great performance."

Grizzlies second-leading scorer Paul Gasol was held to eight points in his third game back after missing four with a toe injury. Gasol, who scored 31 points in Memphis' previous game against Philadelphia, failed to score in double figures for the first time in 82 games.

Gasol, averaging 17.2 points, said the toe injury is bothering him to the point that it's affecting his play. He has had success versus the Rockets recently, however, averaging 25.0 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last four games against them.

The seven-year veteran has combined for 49 points in two meetings this season, with each team winning at home. The Grizzlies have lost five of six against Houston.


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