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Tracy McGrady

With the NBA preseason beginning on Sunday, now is the time of year where NBA teams are feeling energized and confident. An offseason of recuperation does these things. The offseason is also a time most professional players recover from nagging injuries, either with surgery, rehab or both. Apparently, Tracy McGrady is immune to these therapeutic actions because it’s being reported McGrady is entering training camp with concerns about an arthritic shoulder and his surgically repaired left knee.

The knee is healing slower than expected and the shoulder is already giving him problems; so much so, he’s already considering shoulder surgery in the next offseason. This news cannot bode well for the Houston Rockets, who, after adding Ron Artest, are thinking about a deep run in the NBA Playoffs.

Houston’s leading scorer said Monday that his left shoulder is arthritic and will require surgery after this season. He also said his left knee is healing slower than expected from surgery in the spring.

McGrady sprained his shoulder against Sacramento on March 24, and wore padding to protect it for the rest of the season. He had surgery in May to clear loose tissue in his shoulder and knee. He said his knee is “probably 75-80 percent” healthy and will take another two months to fully heal.

McGrady said an MRI revealed the arthritis in his shoulder.

“That’s something I’ve got to deal with again this season,” said McGrady, who averaged 21.6 points last season and was selected third-team All-NBA. “My knee should be ready to go by opening night.”

McGrady, when healthy, is one of the most gifted scorers in the NBA — however, staying healthy has always been a problem for Houston’s swing man.

Since he began his NBA career in 1997, McGrady has not played an entire 82-game schedule. Not once. The closest he’s come to the 82-game mark is 78. Last season, McGrady missed 16 games and the year before he missed 11. However, these 27 games over two seasons don’t match the 35 he missed during the 2005-06 season.

To say McGrady has an injury issue is putting it mildly, which is why this latest news is troubling. If his knee and shoulder are bugging him before the season, what are they going to feel like when game 41 of the 82-game schedule roles around? Will McGrady even be able to make it that far?

These are not the questions a franchise likes to face going into a promising season. Knowing this, let’s see how their franchise player responds; although, judging from his past history, the odds of McGrady playing the entire 82-game slate are slim-to-none.

Perhaps the presence of Ron Artest will reduce T-Mac’s load and preserve him for the stretch run; but McGrady’s not the only one with injury issues:

Don’t forget about Shane Battier’s issues either, nor Yao Ming for that matter. Even though he played in the Olympics, Yao is coming off a stress fracture in his left foot and as most of us know, the grind of an NBA regular season is nothing like the two-week Olympic tournament. 82 games will wear on a person and it’s obvious how important healthy feet are to the equation.

The Rockets open their season on October 29th against the Memphis Grizzlies.