Already on their longest winning streak of the season, the Houston Rockets could be adding more firepower to their lineup.
Tracy McGrady could be back on the floor Friday as the Rockets host the league-worst Minnesota Timberwolves.
McGrady has missed eight games with strained tendons, tendinitis and a bone bruise in his left knee. He was scheduled to be checked out by Houston's medical staff on Thursday.
"I'd love to see him come back on Friday, but it's really going to be up to the medical people and Tracy as far as how he works out, how he feels before we get him back on the floor," coach Rick Adelman said.
McGrady leads the Rockets (19-17) with 22.8 points per game, but will likely see limited playing time once he returns.
"He's not going to be able to play a full quarter in a row or anything like that," Adelman said. "We'll have to get him in and out and see how this thing responds."
The Rockets have been playing well without McGrady, going 6-2 in his absence. Houston beat New York 101-92 on Wednesday for its fourth straight victory.
Yao Ming scored 36 points for the Rockets, and Rafer Alston added 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
"The team has more confidence playing without T-Mac right now," Yao said. "That doesn't mean we don't need him. You have to face to those games when you don't have him. When you miss him, you still have to play. We're finding a way to play without him right now."
The Rockets are playing their next five games at home, where they are 8-6 but have dropped three of five. They have won their last two home games against Minnesota (5-29), but have dropped three of five overall in the series.
The Timberwolves ended an eight-game losing streak on Tuesday, beating Miami 101-91. Rashad McCants scored 27 points for Minnesota, which has not won consecutive games this season.
"We need wins. We're not going out not to win. But we need to be consistent in our effort," coach Randy Wittman told the Timberwolves' official team Web site.
"One of the things I try to do along the course here is I'm trying to set many goals for these guys. One of our many goals is we haven't one two games in a row. That's a goal of ours. That's our next step."
Wittman's team seemed to respond after he put it through a tough practice following Sunday's 101-78 loss to Dallas. The Timberwolves trailed by as many as 31 points in that loss, but all five of their starters scored in double figures against the Heat.
McCants has been especially hot lately, averaging 22.0 points over his last three games.
"We have too much talent to be down for too long," McCants said. "I think it's about time we start to get it together, jelling as a team, and going with our execution."
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