Last time we heard from Yao Ming, he didn’t sound like a guy confident he would be back.
Speaking with the Chinese media this week… pretty much the same thing. The New York Times found the interview and translated it.
“I don’t know if I would join some champion team in the future,” the China Daily quoted him as saying when asked about leaving a new-look Rockets team.
“I don’t even know if I can play again….
“Walking or jogging is okay… but I need to get 80 percent of my strength back to play. I have got only about 30 percent at most now.”
Yao has played five total games in the last two seasons due to injuries to his feet and his ankles. He’s coming off another surgery and it will be late this summer before he will find out if he even can attempt another comeback.
The man clearly wants to come back and he says he is motivated both by getting a ring and having his daughter see him play somewhere other than ESPN Classic. Two powerful motivators. If his body doesn’t betray him again.
Yao Ming says he is not done.
Injuries to his feet have kept the one time cornerstone of the Rockets franchise out of all but five games total the last two seasons. He’s had a couple of major foot surgeries in the last two years. But he told reporters Thursday at the Rockets annual Tennies Charity Gala that he is not done (video at Rockets.com, via CBS’s Eye on Basketball).
“I’ve been doing well. Once in awhile, seeing the doctors, checking to see how things are going. I’m happy about the progress and [I’m going to] try to make it back. They think I need about another 10 weeks until I can start running on the court… At that time the foot will tell me how much I can get back.”
Yao admitted it is possible that his body will not allow him to come back.
“That’s a sad question, first of all. If there’s a possibility that I’m not going to come back to play, I’m going to tell myself I already did everything I can.”
Yao will be a free agent this summer, but said getting back playing is the priority, there where will sort itself out (although he later added he really likes living and playing in Houston).
“Right now it’s more focused on my injury. About the future, it all depends on this foot.”