Teammates rally around injured Yao

February 29, 2008 7:02:16 PM PST
"If I cannot play for the Olympics or my country this time, I would be at a loss during my career," Rockets center Yao Ming said of his status for this summer's Beijing Olympics.News of Yao Ming's foot injury devastated Rockets fans and their hopes of an NBA title. So when they heard Yao say the possibility of not playing in the Olympics in China would be his biggest disappointment, some couldn't believe it. But those who know him best say doubting Yao's dedication to the Rockets would be the biggest mistake.

"He's pretty much the hardest-working guy that I've been a teammate of," Tracy McGrady said. "He does his work early, he does it late."

"Isn't he doing, or hasn't he done what U.S. basketball is trying to get our players to do?" Rockets coach Rick Adelman asked. "I mean, (Chinese players) play for their team, but then they're making a three-year commitment to play in the summer for their country. Yao has done that forever. I mean, it's part of who he is."

"You don't know Yao if you think that he was slighting our team," Adelman added.

"He really believed that this was a great opportunity for us to, so to speak, set people up and kind of take that next step," McGrady said.

Yao's teammates love him and they have never questioned his loyalty.

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