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Long, slow process for McGrady

DALLAS - For the most part, this season is over for the Knicks. And that type of environment is exactly what Tracy McGrady needs. This is his intramural season, his high-level adult men's league. This is the kind of run Tim Grover couldn't give him at his Chicago gym, where McGrady rehabbed from microfracture knee surgery.

The only problem is that he has to do this on a stage. His minutes are limited because of the slow process the body takes to get back to NBA shape. The knee, McGrady said, is hurting. And he's not ready to push it the way he needs to.

"I know I'm not healthy," said McGrady, who had 11 points in 23:16 in last night's victory over Dallas. "I know I'm not healthy to go out there and be as effective as I want to be every night. It's not happening. I've got to have patience with it. I'm not going to allow myself to get discouraged and not believe that it's going to be better. I really truly think it is."

He added, "It's quite difficult, going from where I used to be to seeing how I am out there.''

It's clear that even when McGrady does get a step on his man, he isn't getting to the rim the way he used to. And he said it's not because he can't; it's because he says the knee doesn't feel ready.

"That's why it's so hard for me to attack the basket, because I'm just not that confident in it," he said. "It's going to take time. Maybe one game I go in there and try to explode in there and dunk and nothing happens. It's just going to take time for me to get that confidence in my leg, which I don't have right now."

The impending free agent added, "I don't think I really have to go out there and show that I'm my old self. I think just being healthy is the concern. Once I'm healthy, my game is going to be there."

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