Limit Yao's minutes, sure, but limit his games, too?


When news came out that the Rockets would be limiting Yao Ming’s minutes to 24 per game this season, it wasn’t a huge surprise, but it was worth discussing. Specifically, the rigid nature of the limitation was lauded because it avoids the kind of vague constructs that can lead to things like your president of basketball operations shoving your coach. It’s also good to see the Rockets genuinely interested in being patient and cautious with Yao who is a legitimate ongoing injury concern.

But are they being too cautious?

Rockets blog The Dream Shake has some concerns with something that has nothing to do with the 24 minutes allotted for Yao going into the season. In a supplementary article from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets say they want to limit Yao’s games on back-to-backs, too. And by limit, I mean completely restrict. Yao won’t be playing in any back-to-backs to start the season off, and that’s too much for the Dream Shake.

“This is what irks me. It’s not pre-planned. It’s a “wait and see” approach that, in this case, may seem necessary, because Yao could progress and get better and doctors could feel he is ready to play in both games on a back-to-back. This, however, brings us back to the days of McGrady, who would wait until the day of or days leading up to a game to announce he wouldn’t be participating.”

Oh, invoking the great and powerful McGrady damnation. Well played, Dream Shake. It’s a good point Tom Martin makes there, as you want to be careful but you also want to be clear. The stress on Yao’s feet compounds itself minute by minute, but a full 24 hours of rest should be enough at least some of the time. Then again, if that’s what his doctors say, then that’s what his doctor’s say. It just goes to show that no matter what you do, bringing along a superstar with a chronic injury is a ridiculously delicate process.