Yao Ming done for the season

February 26, 2008 7:58:16 PM PST
All-Star center Yao Ming is out for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, a stunning blow to the surging Houston Rockets. General manager Daryl Morey made the announcement Tuesday, hours before the Rockets put their 12-game winning streak on the line against the Washington Wizards.

Yao was having a terrific season, averaging 22 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

"It is not an injury we feel he can play with," Rockets team doctor Tom Clanton said. "I've made the recommendation that it be treated surgically and we are working with him to get other opinions just to be certain that that is indeed what should be done."

If Yao chooses surgery, Clanton said, it would involve placing screws across the bone to hold it together. The second option would be to treat it with a cast and crutches. Both options involve a healing time of about four months.

Clanton would not say when Yao could play again, but said he doesn't expect the center to miss the Beijing Olympics in August.

Morey told the team before Tuesday's shootaround, and added he doesn't believe the injury compromises Houston's playoff hopes. The Rockets were 36-20 entering Tuesday's game.

"We've been playing exceptional ball and Yao's been a huge part of that," Morey said. "We feel very confident about our playoff push. We've managed to step up and play well without Yao in the past and coaches and players feel confident that we're going to continue to play well and make the playoffs this year."

Clanton said there was no specific event that led to the injury, but rather an "accumulation of stresses on the bone. Yao first experienced soreness and pain in his ankle before the All-Star game and tests were done Monday when the situation didn't seem to be improving.

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