Sports News

Yao will get only 24 minutes a game says Rockets trainer

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Houston Rockets’ Chinese center Yao Ming will be limited to playing no more than 24 minutes in each NBA game next season as he returns from injury, the team’s athletic trainer said on Thursday.

Keith Jones told the Houston Chronicle the time limit would be applied strictly and the seven foot six inch Yao would skip lots of practice sessions to limit the impact on his left foot.

“Twenty-four is his number all year,” Jones was quoted as saying. “Playoffs come, things could change. We’re trying to get him through April. We’re trying to give him the best chance to play the whole season by limiting stress.

“Even practices, if we play on Monday and play again on Wednesday, can he practice on Tuesday? No. He’ll practice, but he won’t scrimmage,” he said, referring to practice games.

Yao missed all of last season after suffering a fractured bone in his left foot and having an operation on the injury.

The Rockets starts their training camp on September 25 and Jones knows he faces a battle to hold the player back.

“Yao is his own worst enemy,” he said. “He feels good and wants to go. We will be fighting him every day. I know we will.

“He’s going to feel good. He’s going to want to do more. He’s going to question us. He’s going to question the doctor. That’s Yao. He’s a competitor.

“We’re just trying to reduce the stress,” added Jones.

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris