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Yao Ming not sure how good he can be anymore

Jul 22, 2010, 9:48 AM EDT

NBA_ming.jpgYao Ming has doubts.

In a refreshingly frank interview with China’s xinhuanet (via Slam), Yao expressed concerns about how far he can come back after a serious foot injury that sidelined him all of last season.

“I have no idea if I can return the peak of my form,” the seven-time All-star center told China Daily in an exclusive interview on Wednesday in Beijing. “I have not been tested. I have not played competitive basketball since the injury even in the training. I cannot answer if I will return to my best.”

Yao also admitted he can hear the clock ticking on his career.

“I know I will retire one day. My career will end sooner or later. Even if I can play until I am 36, I have to accept that fact,” he said. “The only problem is that 30 is the golden time for an athlete, but for me it’s sudden death and I find it hard to accept that.”

In an age of false bravado, Yao’s candor is a welcome change.

Yao remains the key in Houston. They have good players around him now — Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin, Shane Battier, Brad Miller, Luis Scola and others — but Yao is the anchor. He is the player that nobody else can match when healthy.

If he is healthy, and anywhere near his peak, the Rockets become maybe the biggest threat to the Lakers in the West. But that is a lot of weight for his fragile feet to carry. And Yao knows it.

  1. BIG KEV - Jul 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Yao probably won’t return to what he was as a dominant center, but because the NBA isn’t exactly stacked at center Yao will still be considered one of the best. His numbers will go down but one thing I do I have to agree with is that the Rockets are the Lakers biggest threat in the West. This team took LA to 7 games two years ago and I’m picking those two teams to play in the Western Conference finals in 2011. Rockets in 6………

  2. P - Jul 22, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Rockets will be alright, but watch out for the Thunder this year. Lakers will easily win the west again and don’t be surprised to see the Thunder right behind them. Dallas will finish above Houston and prob. Portland if they’re healthy.
    I’m actually surprised Yao is coming back. I don’t think he’ll ever be the same, but I hope I’m wrong.

  3. Dman - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Kev…. don’t be an idiot. The Rockets will be better but beating the Lakers in six tells me your partying way to much…

  4. Anonymous - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Lakers are due to lose and the Rockets match up better than any other team in the West. If Yao had been healthy 2 years ago would they have beaten the Lakers?? We took them 7 without Yao for two of the 3 games we won. Lakers are due to lose……

  5. manchild - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Yea they took them to a game seven with ARTEST last time I checked, Artest plays for who now? lol

  6. Anonymous - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Artest wasn’t even a factor in that series, He hurt us more than he helped, We have Martin, Ariza and Budinger now and the rookie Patterson and Brad Miller. Our team has certainly improved since that series, Same Laker team but older now………

  7. Bill-Sonora - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    The Rockets were no threat to the Lakers WITH Yao Ming. Least of all when he comes back after his injury. Yes the Rockets took the Lakers to 7 games but NOT because of Yao Ming, it was because of the speed of the other players (without Ming) that gave the Lakers a hard time just like the speed of the Thunder gave the Lakers a hard time this year but thats not enough to lose the series to these teams. Please.

  8. Anonymous - Jul 22, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Lakers should have lost to an old Boston team but they were lucky enough to shoot the most free thows in a hame 7 in NBA finals in History (thanks Refs) to win. Bottom line the Laker will not win a 3rd Championship in 2011. They won’t win the West either. Watch and see….

  9. That 1 Guy - Jul 22, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    One thing that is never brought up is how Yao played year-round back in China, which likely led to his constant injuries. Keep in mind that in his first 3 years in the league, he played at least 80 games(first 2 being a full 82). It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, you’ll break down playing non-stop.
    Having taken over a year off should do wonders for his long-term health, unless he goes back to that vigorous schedule(and a possibility with the immense pressure back home). Given the indications by the Rocket front office, they’ll probably ease him in playing around 25 minutes per and gradually increase as the season goes, being cautious and smart at the same time as he gets in shape. I also believe he may not be his self for most, if not all this upcoming season, but he should be effective nonetheless. After all, he depends on skill.

  10. Bill-Sonora - Aug 6, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    The LAKERS won the Finals Series because of DEFENSE. Period. Everything else you say is worthless.
    Yea sure, they wont even win the west. Whatever. I bet you were one of the haters that said the same thing about this year too. Keep hatin’. Your jealousy makes me and other Laker fans laugh.

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