Rockets' Yao decides on surgery to repair stress fracture in foot

Updated: March 2, 2008, 10:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

HOUSTON -- Yao Ming will have surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot, Houston Rockets officials said Saturday.

Yao
Yao

The surgery will be performed Monday in Houston by Rockets team doctor Tom Clanton. The team announced the All-Star center's injury on Tuesday and said he would get a second opinion before deciding whether to have the surgery.

Clanton said last week that the surgery would involve placing screws across the bone to hold it together with a recovery time of about four months. The second option was to treat it with a cast and crutches.

Clanton also said last week that he doesn't expect the injury to keep Yao from playing for China in the Olympics in Beijing in August.

ESPN's Ric Bucher reported on Sunday that Yao could be released on Tuesday and could be running in a pool as soon as soon as two weeks after surgery.

Yao said that if the fracture had not been discovered he may have suffered a complete break and missed an entire year.

The Rockets have won 14 straight games, including the two since Yao has been injured.

Yao was averaging 22 points and 10.8 rebounds this season.

"[Yao] believes those two months [of recovery time] are enough time to recover," his Chinese agent Zhang Mingji said in an interview with the Beijing News.

"I believe that by the Olympics, Yao Ming will have recovered 100 percent," Zhang added.

China's Olympic basketball medal hopes are pinned on Yao. Zhang dismissed suggestions that Yao's injury was a result of playing too many games.

"His bone fracture is not because he was played too much, it's a problem that arose because of the structure of his foot," Zhang said, explaining that Yao had high arches.

Bucher also reports that Yao has been told by team doctors to reduce his extensive training regimen.

The 27-year-old is China's most popular sportsman and is a leading candidate to fulfill the prestigious role of lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.