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Yao back in Rockets' lineup after 21-game absence

1/30/2006 - NBA Yao Ming Houston Rockets + more

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Houston Rockets center Yao Ming returned Monday night after missing 21 games because of a toe injury and scored 15 points in the Rockets' 86-77 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Yao, Houston's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, hadn't played since undergoing surgery Dec. 19 to clean out an infection in his left big toe. The Rockets were 6-15 without him in the lineup.

The 7-foot-6 center made his first three shots and finished with eight rebounds in 32 minutes.