Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As far as international stirs go, nothing riles up the masses from Houston to Beijing like these “Yao says he may quit if foot doesn’t heal” headlines you’ve probably already seen.
Here’s a little advice, don’t believe the hype.
The folks in the know, mainly Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, aren’t giving the buzz coming from China, where Yao Ming was quoted about what he’d do if he suffered another foot injury, any credence. Morey issued a statement that should calm any fears Rockets fans have of their All-Star center hanging it up anytime soon:
“Yao Ming is working diligently on his return and has consistently received positive feedback at each of his scheduled medical checkups. He is currently participating in on-court basketball workouts and we continue to expect him to be ready for the start of training camp which begins on September 25th.”
That works for us here at the hideout.
Yao’s comments to the assembled media in his native land (“If the foot injury does not heal next season, I might choose to call it quits”) sent people over the edge. And we’ll admit, Yao’s injury history — he has seen each of his last five seasons interrupted or ended by bone injuries — raises some red flags. But big men his size always have to deal with injury issues.
That said, we’re not expecting Yao to go anywhere anytime soon. He’s 30 and should still have plenty of All-Star caliber basketball in him. In addition, Morey has assembled some quality frontcourt pieces around their big man — Luis Scola, Brad Miller, David Andersen, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries and the always-reliable Chuck Hayes will all help take the pressure off of Yao.
We’re just not buying into any of this retirement hype surrounding Yao.
And with him healthy, the Rockets could certainly make some serious noise in the Western Conference playoff chase this season.