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Broken left foot ends Yao's season

Associated Press / May 10, 2009
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HOUSTON - Center Yao Ming, who limped off the court late in Houston's 108-94 loss to Los Angeles Friday night, will miss the rest of the playoffs because of a broken left foot.

Yao missed yesterday's practice to get treatment. The team said later that the 7-foot-6-inch All-Star has a hairline fracture and will need 8-12 weeks to recover, though no surgery is required.

The Rockets and Lakers play Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series this afternoon. The Lakers lead the series, 2-1.

Yao had 19 points and 14 rebounds Friday, his sixth straight double-double. But he was noticeably limping by the fourth quarter and finally hobbled off the court in the final minute, with the outcome decided.

Yao has been the focal point of the Rockets' offense since Tracy McGrady had season-ending knee surgery in February; Houston finished 21-8 without McGrady.

Yao has been plagued by serious leg and foot injuries in each of the previous three seasons, but played in 77 games in 2008-09.

His left foot has given him problems before. Just four games before the end of the 2005-06 regular season, Yao broke the fifth metatarsal in the foot in Utah and missed the playoffs after surgery.

In February 2008, Yao sustained a stress fracture in his foot and missed the postseason again, returning in time to play for host China in the Olympics.

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