Timetable for Yao's return from injury not looking good

Updated: February 26, 2007, 12:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Houston Rockets had hoped to get center Yao Ming back from injury by mid-March, but coach Jeff Van Gundy doesn't seem so hopeful, according to a published report.

Yao Ming

"What we've seen in the brief things he's able to do with us, you get the sense he's a lot further away from playing NBA basketball than maybe the timetables would suggest," Van Gundy told the Houston Chronicle before Sunday's game at Orlando. "He does not look comfortable at all with the brace. He does not look agile. Last year, he looked on the cusp of [returning]. To me, he looks like we have problems to solve there to get him back.

"He has to wear this cumbersome brace. He feels that's a huge issue to his mobility, to his jumping, to his natural running gait. He's worrying about hurting something else because of the change to his natural running gait. There are a lot of issues I think right now. He doesn't look like he did last year when he came back."

Yao also told the paper about how wearing a brace now compares to his previous experience with the device.

"Remember two years ago when I wore the arm brace?" Yao said. "I had a lot of trouble with that and that was on my arm."

Yao broke his right leg during a loss to the Clippers on Dec. 23.