Yao Ming Still Unsure if He Can Play Next Season

Though Yao likes what he’s seeing from his surgically-repaired left ankle, and says he can’t imagine playing anywhere but in Houston, there are no guarantees about the big fella hitting the court next year. From the Chronicle: “If he can continue to play, Yao knows where he wants that to happen. ‘I’d like to be here,’ Yao said Thursday during an appearance at Hunters Creek Elementary School in west Houston. ‘Nowhere else is better than Houston for me right now.’ Yao, 30, said he was encouraged by his visit with team doctors Wednesday. MRI results showed improvement in the stress fracture that limited him to five games this past season. ‘Everything looks good,’ Yao said. ‘The pictures (MRI) showed great news.’ Yao, who will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, remained noncommittal about whether he will be able to play next season. He said he should have a better idea by August or September. Based on that timetable the 7-6 center likely would miss most, if not all, of training camp. ‘It’s too early to say,’ Yao said of whether he will play next season. Pressed on the subject, Yao replied, ‘If there is a season’ — a reference to a possible work stoppage with the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement set to expire. ‘Right now I’m not ready (to play), but I still have a couple months, maybe more.’ Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and general manager Daryl Morey have expressed their desire to re-sign Yao if he’s healthy.”