Friday, July 17, 2009

Yao Ming to have foot surgery; likely out for season

Yao Ming to have foot surgery; likely out for season

Yao Ming

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will have surgery on his broken left foot next week and may miss all of next season before coming back for a training camp that doesn't begin until October 2010.

The team's announcement Friday signals that the 7-foot-6 Yao doesn't plan on retiring, but it doesn't appear like the seven-time All-Star will be around to help them next season, either.

"While no timetable has been set for his return to action, Yao is expected to be available for the team's training camp in 2010," the Rockets said. That camp is in October.

The 28-year-old Yao chose a surgery that will involve a bone graft to promote bone regeneration, the team said. He's also hoping to reduce the arch in the foot by realigning and restructuring the bones.

John Huizinga, Yao's agent, did not immediately return a phone message, and nor did Yao issue a statement. Yao told the Xinhua News Agency this week that he planned to "fully recover" and had no plans to retire.

The decision for surgery was expected. The Rockets applied for a disabled player exception from the NBA a few weeks ago, betting that their center will miss next season as he recovers. The NBA agreed that Yao's return is unlikely and approved the request, freeing up about $5.7 million that the Rockets used to sign free agent Trevor Ariza from the Lakers.

Houston has also scrambled to find a center since free agency began and this week acquired 6-foot-11 David Andersen in a trade with Atlanta.

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