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Yao Ming's career in jeopardy?

June 29, 2009 | 11:42 am

As Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojanrowski reports, that's the worry circulating throughout the Houston Rockets' front office.  The fractured foot that put Yao out of commission during the Western Conference Semi-Finals vs. the Lakers has been stubborn to heal, and beyond a recent "out indefinitely" statement, Yao Ming vs. Lakers Wojnarowski suspects concerns over Yao missing the majority of next season.  Or even worse, being forced into early retirement.  Obviously, more information needs to be presented before hitting the panic button- Rockets GM Daryl Morey is withholding public comment until more tests are completed- but I have to imagine it's a tense vibe over at HQ. 

And with this story, I ask two questions...

1) If Yao could miss a large chunk of time, does this development potentially shift an already radically altered NBA landscape?  Could that make Houston think twice about committing long-term to Ron Artest.  Are they more likely to move T-Mac for help or just let his 22 mil expire and blow the whole baby up?  Keep whomever they can to remain competitive?  Is there a team in particular you picture swooping in to become a player?

2) Does Yao's situation make you more nervous about various Lakers, whether Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Sasha Vujacic or DJ Mbenga, representing their country in Olympic play?  BK and I have both stated past opinions that it's damn near impossible to fault a player for his patriotism, nor should their NBA employer forbid anyone from suiting up in the offseason.  But all things being equal, are you now more inclined to hope those purple and golders take a pass and save their best for the NBA hardcourt?

In any event, best wishes to Yao for a full recovery.  He's a class act, a great competitor and has been terrific for the league.  I hope Wojnarowski is just caught up in worst case scenarios and not predicting the future.


(Photo: Reuters)