This might not come as news to many, but Yao Ming is injured again. This time, we aren’t sure if Yao will ever return. The 7’6” frame of Yao Ming suffered a stress fracture in his left ankle according to an MRI Thursday. Yao has been out since mid-November due to a bone bruise in the same left ankle.
But with this situation, we must acknowledge the elephant in the room. Will Yao ever play basketball again? While this question seems grim, we can never be too sure. A player of Yao’s size recovery time for an injury is significantly longer than the average NBA player. Add on four previous injuries, and you are looking at a steep uphill climb. On Twitter, Rockets beat writer Jonathan Feigen noted on Yao’s injury “wondering now if he’ll ever return.” And aren’t we all.
Yao’s injuries problems began towards the end of the 05-06 season, and never relented. The following season (06-07) Yao missed 32 games and the entire postseason with a broken right leg; in the 08’-09’ season Yao’s body held up… until the second round of the playoffs, forcing him to sit out the duration of the 09-10 season.
Yao Ming has been on a strict 24 minutes per game policy this season in hopes that something like this wouldn’t happen. Well, I guess you can’t prevent the inevitable. Maybe the Rockets should have limited him to 10 minutes per game, but would it have really changed anything?
Rockets owner Leslie Alexander summed up this situation best,
“This is very sad…this is a very disappointing moment in the history of the Rockets organization, for our wonderful fans, for the city of Houston and for everybody in our organization. I feel terrible for Yao.”
Commenting on Alexander’s statement, this is a sad situation for both the Houston Rockets and Yao Ming himself. Anytime you lose your franchise player and former top overall draft pick, a rebuilding process must occur. Morey has stated time and again that he wants to make Houston a contender NOW. With all this said, I believe it might finally be time to move on to plan B.