The Houston Rockets hoped to be at full strength on Monday, but they still have a big, big hole in the lineup.
"Compared to yesterday I feel much better," Yao said.
He hopes to return for a Wednesday game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Rockets did see Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest return from injuries in Sunday's 108-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons. McGrady had missed six straight games and 16 overall with a sore knee. Artest was sidelined the previous seven games and 13 overall with an ankle injury.
The 7-foot-6 Yao leads the team in points (19.6), rebounds (9.5) and blocks (1.65) per game.
"He's just sore," coach Rick Adelman said, "and we don't want to push him."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.