Ever since Yao Ming broke his left foot in the Rockets’ playoff series against the Lakers, the healing process for the Houston center has been moving very slow. In fact, doctors are worried that his injury is actually getting worse.
And concerns are being raised that Yao may miss the entire 2009-10 NBA season. Or worse yet, his basketball career may be coming to an abrupt end.
The HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports that Rockets team physician Tom Clanton is not sure why a hairline fracture on Yao’s tarsal navicular bone has not healed yet. The fracture was Yao’s fourth bone injury in the past four seasons, and it was expected to heal like Yao’s previous breaks:
Instead, it not only healed, but Clanton said it grew worse. He said doctors will also try to determine whether Yao has suffered a loss of blood supply in the area, causing the injury to heal more slowly.
“The hairline fracture that is present in the previous X-rays shows evidence it has not healed and has extended across the bone,” Clanton said.
Clanton is trying to find alternatives to performing additional surgery on Yao, but he might not have much time to go looking:
“At this point, the injury has the potential for him missing this next season and could be career threatening,” Clanton said. “One of the things we are trying to get is a consensus opinion on that, to make certain there is no option we are overlooking that would provide an earlier return or would be an option for treatment that he would prefer rather than doing additional surgery.”
Yao is expected to meet with several specialists about what course of action to take next. Clanton hopes that more time in a boot or cast may do the job. But if surgery is deemed necessary, Yao also has a choice of what kind of procedure could be done. Such choices include placing a pin in the foot, undergoing a bone graft, or even completely realigning the foot.
Either way, it looks like Yao will be spending a lot more time courtside than on the court for the foreseeable future. On the plus side, it does give him more time to lend his voice to animated movies - and hang out with model Lin Chi-Ling: