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.”
Well, this is a sentence I never thought I’d type:
The Golden State Warriors will take a look at signing Greg Oden or Yao Ming this summer if they can’t get a big at the trading deadline, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Yup, you read that right.
They have interest in two centers who have no good legs between them. Two men who combined played in 26 games the last two seasons.
And honestly, it makes some sense. The Warriors are not the only team thinking like this. If the price is right a number of teams would take these risks (particularly on the younger Oden). Warriors GM Larry Riley explains the logic.
“When you’re looking at what you can do to get better, you have to consider the possibility of what an injured player today might be able to do when he returns,” said general manager Larry Riley, who can’t name players under contract with other teams. “A lot has been done down that road, and more will be done.”
Oden will be a restricted free agent this next summer (meaning the Blazers can match any deal) and Yao will be unrestricted.
Big men who can defend the rim and rebound are at a premium in the NBA right now — with the no hand checking rules on the perimeter there is no way to stop a quick guard now. Russell Westbrook can’t defend Russell Westbook now. Teams need a big who can protect the rim. Notice the two teams in the finals last year had Kendrick Perkins and Andrew Bynum, that’s not a coincidence. There are not enough of these kinds of players to go around.
So teams will be willing to take a risk on talented but injured players. The Warriors are one of them.
This is just heartbreaking.
Yao Ming has a stress fracture in his left ankle, a different bone than the one that has been bruised and healing, but it almost certainly means he is out for the season, the Rockets announced today. Here is the official statement:
An MRI performed today on Rockets center Yao Ming revealed a stress fracture of the Medial Malleolus in his left ankle. The fracture, which is related to his previous injury of the Tarsal Navicular bone, presented itself during the course of his current rehabilitation program. There is no timetable for his return at this time.
It makes you wonder if Yao will ever play in an NBA game again. Yao said last summer if he could not get healthy he would seriously consider retirement. Yao missed all of last season recovering from foot surgery and played just five games this season before spraining his ankle.
New tests showed the fracture, this is not something he or the team knew about 24 hours ago.
Details on his rehabilitation have not been announced, but this kind of injury almost certainly means this is it for him this season.
Yao is a free agent this coming summer, if he does play in the NBA again it may well not be with Houston.
It’s heartbreaking to watch Yao’s body betray him. This is a big man who really loved the game and worked to develop a midrange game and variety of moves that Dwight Howard can only dream of. He was the complete package on the court — when his body let him stay on it. What’s more important is that he is a good person — you’d be hard pressed to find a more likable guy in the league.
We will update this story as news comes becomes available.
Remember that ankle sprain that was going to keep Yao Ming out a week? Yeah, funny thing about that. Turns out it’s a bone bruise in the ankle and it will be about two more weeks before he is back on the court.
The real issue is conditioning after he can run again, according to a tweet from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. The good news is his surgically repaired foot looks fine still.
The Rockets have gone 2-2 without Yao (2-3 if you count the Wizards game where he got injured and played just six minutes). Brad Miller is starting at the five spot for the Rockets right now.