Did Yao Shut It Down Early Because Of Olympics?

Perhaps the most ironic headline of the year - from last night’s NATIONAL POST:

Yao Ming

Today the HOUSTON CHRONICLE reports that Ming is definitely “out for the rest of the season and post-season” because of a “stress fracture” diagnosis. Hmmm.

Yao Ming out for the season

We hate to suggest this: But is there a chance that Yao could’ve continued to play with the injury but shut it down with the Beijing Olympics in mind? He played in 55 of the Rockets’ 56 games this season and three days ago scored 28 points in a huge win over New Orleans. He also played in the Rockets’ game against Chicago Sunday night, netting 14 points.

Yes, he’s no doubt hurting, but is he also thinking that the Olympic basketball competition begins in early August in his native China?

It is rather interesting, consider he played so well for so long this season. And the announcement was so definitive, after a “stress fracture” diagnosis of his foot. If it was a major bone break or ligament tear, we wouldn’t be suggesting any of this.

And we know, we may be jumping to conclusions. But it’s something to think about.

UPDATE: Bethlehem Shoals of THE SPORTING BLOG emails that perhaps Yao might be making the announcement to avoid the Olympics.

That might make sense too. A passive protest against his country’s policies perhaps?

UPDATE 2: Shoals’ post on TSB.

UPDATE 3: From the AP today: “Yao has been playing with pain in his foot since the All-Star Break, with the Rockets believing it was a sprain. The All-Star center was sent for tests to ensure it was not more serious - and returned with bad news.

Yao was playing pretty damn well “with pain,” and the Rockets were on a roll. Why not shoot it up and see what happens? We know, easy for us to say. But we’re sorry, none of this is adding up.