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However, McGrady backed off that statement on Tuesday, saying instead that Nov. 18 was just a "target date."
"It's a target date," McGrady told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. "I didn't say I was coming back; I said it was a target date just like we have a date to have the MRI on the 23rd. Everybody is blowing it out of proportion like I'm guaranteed to come back. I want to play, so that's what we're targeting. I've been working out every day, improving every day, and that's what it is.
"It's not a guarantee that I'm coming back. It's a target date," he said.The seven-time All-Star underwent a risky microfracture procedure on his left knee on Feb. 24, and doctors said his recovery could take up to 12 months. Morey said at the end of September that McGrady would have an MRI exam Nov. 23, and the team would have a better feel for when he'd return after that. That prognosis was backed by a team source, who told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Monday night that McGrady will not be back before Nov. 23. The Rockets, who are also playing without injured center Yao Ming, are off to a 4-2 start this season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.