Yao stresses emotional attachment to Houston

Updated: 2011-04-22 12:06
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SHANGHAI -- Chinese star center Yao Ming said here Friday he had so strong feelings for the city of Houston that he could not give up hope on making a return to the NBA Houston Rockets.

Yao, back in China for a two-week trip promoting environmental protection, is recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot incurred on November 10 in a loss at Washington. He played only five games this season.

"Everything is going well and I am recovering. I will continue some simple rehabilitation training during my trip in China," said Yao, whose contract with the Rockets will run to an end this season.

"My future will first depend on this foot and secondly, on the outcome of our negotiation. Too many things remain unknown right now," he said.

But Yao, 30, admitted that he would love to stay in Houston as the city has given him some many memories after nine years.

"I started my NBA career there. I have played for the Rockets since then. And my daughter was born there. I have too many feelings for the city which will make a farewell so much harder," he said.

Yao underwent surgery in December after a fifth consecutive season that was interrupted by bone injuries, including a major operation to reconstruct the left foot before last season.

But the latest injury was not as severe as first thought and it did not complicate the previous surgical work, meaning it was not necessarily a career-ending injury for the eight-time NBA All-Star.