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Monday February 23, 2009 6:19 PM

Tracy McGrady To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery

Microfracture procedure to be performed Tuesday

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Staff Writer

Houston - After attempting to battle through months of pain and frustration associated with his troublesome left knee, Tracy McGrady will undergo season-ending microfracture surgery Tuesday in Chicago.

McGrady played in 35 games this season and finished with averages of 15.6 points, 5.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds - well below the stellar numbers he's posted the past decade.

But McGrady never seemed comfortable after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure last May, and after months spent trying various strengthening and rehab techniques, T-Mac and the team are opting for the microfracture approach, hoping that the procedure will ultimately be the solution to his injury issues.

"I think we’ve reached a point where he is seeing that the knee is doing what it did last year," said Rockets Team Physician Dr. Tom Clanton, who will be in attendance to observe the procedure conducted by Dr. Brian Cole.

"I believe his thoughts on this are that he doesn’t want to have to go through what he did last year with a knee that began swelling, and requires injections and removal of fluids from the joint in order to play. He wants to try to do something that has the chance of getting the knee back to as close as normal as he can. That’s what the microfracture procedure offers.

"Will it be curative? I think we don’t know that. But there are good studies that show that professional athletes can return to high-level activity after microfracture. Now it has a bad name because there are also athletes who we all know who didn’t return and play at the same level after microfracture procedures, and that’s one of the reasons that we did what we did last May; we were trying to take the conservative approach and I think that now it’s time to do more than that.

Dr. Clanton says the timetable for McGrady's return to action is anywhere from six to twelve months, depending upon what the doctors discover at the time of surgery. He adds that McGrady's age (29) and the location of the cartilage defect (the lesion is located in the non weight-bearing part of the joint) are both factors which should benefit T-Mac on the road to recovery.

"He’s under 30 (years old). That’s a really good thing. Yes, he’s played in the league 12 years, so he’s had a lot of wear and tear and stress on his knee, but he has a great looking knee joint in the weight-bearing part."

Also attending Monday's press conference was Rockets Head Trainer Keith Jones, who commended McGrady for doing everything he could to fight through the pain and help his team this season.

"He was at a point where he was extremely frustrated with it," said Jones. "Everybody needs to know that he pushed himself and was so adamant about playing with this team – and with the addition of Ron (Artest) he got more excited. He pushes himself. He’s a great athlete and he wanted to be out there."

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