T-Mac back, in a minor role for now

December 16, 2009

Rockets star Tracy McGrady made his season debut in a 107-96 win over the Pistons on Tuesday, about nine months after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee. Coach Rick Adelman announced the decision to play McGrady about an hour before tipoff. He said McGrady would play about seven minutes, all in the first half, and he did.

"It's been so long since I've played, it was just a great feeling to be back on the court," McGrady said. "Just to get up and down the court with these guys and to be back out there competing is what I missed."

He entered with 7:44 left in the first quarter to a standing ovation and missed his first shot. He hit his second, a 3-pointer, and added three rebounds and two missed free throws.

Jonathan Bender's return to the NBA will have to wait a few more games after Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni deactivated Bender from Tuesday's game. The 7-footer, who hasn't played since the 2005-06 season, is attempting a comeback from a serious right knee injury. Bender, who signed with the Knicks on Sunday, was selected fifth in the 1999 draft.

•Cavaliers guard Delonte West, who has been in and out of the lineup while dealing with personal issues, was listed as inactive for Tuesday's game against the Nets.

AP

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