Yao's secret weapon for recovery

HOUSTON The Houston Rockets center underwent surgery on Monday to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Doctors in the United States said after the surgery that he was expected to recover in time to play for China at the Beijing Olympics in August.

However, back home they're taking no chances with Yao's health.

"After the surgery, Chinese medicine will be used to help Yao Ming's recovery," Hu Jiashi, deputy director of the Chinese Basketball Association, told the Beijing News.

"We've hired medical experts to diagnose Yao Ming's condition and communicate with American doctors and we've reached agreement."

Chinese remedies are widely believed across China to be effective, usually made of herbal compounds that have been used for centuries.

Hu also urged caution.

"Yao Ming's absence from the Olympics is something nobody wants to see," Hu said. "However, we have to listen to the doctors advice. We also need to face reality. If Yao doesn't fully recovered from the injury, he can't give his best performance plus it could hurt his career."

Yao is China's best-known athlete and has contracts with several Olympic sponsors including McDonald's and Coca-Cola. He is believed to earn about $25 million alone in sponsorship deals and is being heavily marketed across China in the run-up to the Games.

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