Report: Yao on China's roster, waiting on Rockets

Updated: August 10, 2006, 11:12 AM ET
Reuters

BEIJING -- Yao Ming plans to play for China's national team at the Stankovic Cup ahead of the world championships, news portal Sina.com reported on Thursday.

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2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
57 22.3 10.2 1.5 .519 .853

The 7-foot-5 NBA All-Star broke his left foot playing for the Houston Rockets in April, an injury that has clouded China's preparations for basketball's international showpiece, which starts Aug. 19 in Japan.

Yao has been named in the national team for the six-nation Stankovic Cup in China's eastern Jiangsu province, but said he was not certain to play in the team's opening game against Germany on Friday.

"I still can't say whether I'll play. I hope to play. I'll definitely play some basketball [at the tournament]. There's only three games left before the world championships," the report quoted Yao as saying.

The final decision rested with the Houston Rockets team doctor, who had been sent X-ray images of Yao's foot, the report said.

Yao said he would be eased back into playing.

"I definitely won't be on for my usual playing time, I'll be taking it easy. At first, I'll play probably 20 minutes and see how it goes," he said.

China has struggled without Yao in recent world championship warm-up games, which included a 46-point thrashing by the United States in the southern city of Guangzhou on Monday.