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Daughter could inspire Yao return

BEIJING, China, June 7- China's star basketball player Yao Ming says he is banking on his baby daughter to motivate him to overcome injury and return to the court to hopefully win an NBA championship.

The injury-prone 30-year-old Houston Rockets centre is recovering from a broken foot that kept him out of most of the 2010-2011 NBA season and is awaiting word from doctors on whether he will be able to play again.

"She is definitely a big motivation for me to continue my role as a player, although my foot still needs lots of treatment to meet the game’s demands," the China Daily on Tuesday quoted Yao as telling state television.

"I wish she could watch me play and even win a championship as she grows up and not only see through video highlights how her dad played before."

Late last month, Yao brought his one-year-old daughter Amy to China for the first time and bought a new home in Shanghai, signalling a possible end to his illustrious NBA career.

On Friday, Houston’s new coach Kevin McHale said he hopes the 2.26m centre is able to return from injury and extend his playing days.

"We would all be really happy if Yao comes back to play and I hope he can," McHale said. "He will give it his best shot. His body is going to dictate if he can come back and play. That’s all going to be laid out in the future."

Yao played only five games last season and underwent surgery in January for a stress fracture in his left ankle, the latest in a series of injury setbacks that have dogged him in recent seasons.

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With perennial All-Star Yao only playing a limited role, the Rockets have missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

Yao’s contract expires on June 30 but Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has said he would like to have Yao back if he is able to continue his NBA career.

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