HOUSTON, September 24 – Yao Ming's surgically repaired foot is showing signs of improvement but the giant Chinese centre says he will need a full season of rest before he can return to the Houston Rockets.
"The (X-ray) picture looks good. The bones heal well," Yao told a Houston television station.
Asked what are the chances he could play in the National Basketball Association season next year, Yao said zero.
"The answer is no. You don’t want to rush it, because they want it to totally heal this time. I have been in this situation enough," he said.
The Rockets star underwent surgery in July and then sought opinions from several doctors during the healing and ongoing rehabilitation process.
The complicated surgery involved grafting bone and realigning his foot.
The injury was discovered during the Rockets quarter-final playoff series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers last season.
Yao played almost all of last season but he has been hit with a series of injuries in the past couple of years.
Three years ago he broke a bone in his left foot. He played just 48 games in 2006-07 after suffering a right knee injury. The following year he played just 55 games because of a stress fracture in his left foot.
He competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics for China.