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McGrady will miss 3 weeks

Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady will miss three weeks because of back spasms, coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

McGrady left practice on Friday after hurting his back on a dunk. He did not attend the Rockets' game against New Orleans on Saturday night.

David Wesley replaced McGrady in the Rockets' starting lineup against the Hornets.

"Every team relies on greatness down the stretch," Van Gundy said. "However, I do believe that good teams can function efficiently with or without one player. Our chore to function without the one player is going to be tested."

The back spasms are the latest in a growing list of injuries that have slowed McGrady in the past few weeks.

The five-time All-Star missed Houston's last two preseason games because of tendinitis in both knees. He bruised his left knee in a collision with Yao Ming in the practice before Wednesday's opener against Sacramento.

BOBCATS OPEN ARENA: Emeka Okafor considered taking the trolley to work Saturday night, a luxury Charlotte's star forward now has in the Bobcats' new downtown arena.

Okafor instead chose to make the two-minute drive from his high rise apartment, ensuring he made it in time for a red carpet celebration the Bobcats had before officially opening the $265 million facility for Saturday night's sold-out game against the Boston Celtics.

"This place is incredible," Okafor said before the game. "I'm just happy we have a place that everybody likes. The other place was not good at all."

The Bobcats played their inaugural season in the antiquated Charlotte Coliseum, a suburban facility that lacked the amenities and atmosphere found in today's NBA facilities.

2003 DRAFTEES: Now that the deadline has passed, there were only two players from the first round of the 2003 draft who were eligible to have their fourth-year options picked up and whose teams declined to do so.

One of those, we know, was the Celtics' Marcus Banks. The other was Reece Gaines of the Milwaukee Bucks. Both will become unrestricted free agents at the end of this season.

Banks, taken 13th overall, is still with the Celtics, while Gaines, taken 15th by Orlando, is already with his third team, having been traded to Houston and then sent on to Milwaukee.

There were two others from the first round that year who were waived before the Oct. 31 deadline and thus not eligible for an extension: Troy Bell (16th) and Ndudi Ebi (26th).