Yao Ming’s Left Ankle Fracture Takes Stress Out of Houston Rockets’ Decision

December 17th, 2010 by Robert Kleeman Leave a reply »
Yao Ming emerged from a thick cloud of red smoke and high-fived each of his teammates before trotting to center court to grab a microphone, and the attention and soul of a franchise hoping to satiate its starved fanbase.

He was going to feed the red-clad masses another season opening salutation, return from a broken foot and reconstructive surgery that ended his 2009-2010 campaign, and carry a city's hopes again on his broad shoulders and cursed frame. Here was Yao to save the day and a season slipping fast.

Then, it was unfathomable after such a promising two-point defeat in L.A. that the Rockets would lose their first five games and start 1-6, or that Aaron Brooks would suffer an ankle sprain a week later and not play again.

Coach Rick Adelman and GM Daryl Morey expected rust and a lengthy adjustment period. Armed with a non-negotiable 24-minute restriction, handed down as an educated guess by the team's medical staff, the Rockets hoped Yao would come back and reprise his role as The Great Wall. With no better option in waiting, Adelman and Morey had no choice.

He flashed glimpses of what a 7' ...

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