By Khalid Salaam
Say what you will. But this seems kinda suspect to me. Its hard to play on a stress fracture and treatment options include rest (approx. 4-12 weeks, sometimes longer) which would have hurt the Rockets playoff chances. Best case scenario he comes back early to ensure that Houston gets in the playoffs, they lose in the 1st rd anyway and he probably aggravates it and is out for the Olympics. Or he can get surgery now and have a pin inserted into the bone and that will fix it (hopefully) but the healing time takes 6 months to get back to full power. Meaning if he gets that done immediately he makes it back for the Olympics. Granted its pushing things regarding recuperation wise, the games run from August 8th to 24th. So its more like 5 months but so what he comes back early. He won’t be 100 percent but he’s at least able to suit up. For China, thats good enough.
There’s no way the Chinese gov’t can allow the game to take place in Beijing and have their premier athlete NOT play. It’s inconceivable to me that they would allow this to happen. So what he misses the NBA season, he can play next year. Its not like the Rockets were gonna beat the Spurs anyway, so whats the damage. But to miss the Olympics is absurd. You only get to be the host country every 60 years or so. Its a big deal especially for a country like China which is within striking distance of becoming a true superpower. There is too much at stake financially, PR wise and symbollically. They don’t play. Over here in the US we may say we hate our gov’t (and for legitimate reasons oftentimes) but over there its different. The Chinese gov’t doesn’t play and they wield their power with a mighty fist. Go against them and get eliminated. They got rules galore. The gov’t can tell you how many kids you can have for after all. Damn that individual spirit, you do what they say you do. And that includes Yao.