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Yao Ming will wait week before surgery decision

HOUSTON Rockets All-Star center Yao Ming will have to wait up to a week before he knows whether he will need surgery on his broken left foot.

The future of 7-foot-6 (226-centimeter) Yao are in question amid reports from the team doctor that the hairline fracture in his foot could keep him out of all of next season, and potentially end his career.

"It hasn't been decided yet," Yao's agent, Eric Zhang, said today. "He is still in the process of group consultations of doctors holding different opinions and different plans. The result of the consultations is due within a week."

Before that there is no way of telling whether surgery will be performed, Zhang said.

"We are still in the information gathering period," he said.

Yao sustained a hairline fracture of the tarsal navicular bone late in a May 8 playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rockets said last week that the injury has not healed and he was out indefinitely.

Yao played in 77 regular-season games in 2008-09, his most injury-free year since 2004-05, when he played in 80. Before last season, Yao missed chunks of the previous three seasons with leg and foot injuries.

In 2006-07, Yao missed 32 games after breaking his right leg. He suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in 2007-08, underwent surgery and sat out 26 games.

Yao is due to make more than US$16 million next season, with a player option for 2010-11 that would pay him more than US$17 million.

The uncertainties come at a bad time for Houston, with Rockets forward Ron Artest verbally agreeing yesterday to join Kobe Bryant and the NBA champion Lakers.

David Bauman, Artest's agent, told The Associated Press the final details are still being worked out. reported Artest had agreed to a three-year deal worth US$18 million. Bauman would not confirm those numbers, saying the deal was still being negotiated.

The Rockets envisioned Artest, acquired in a trade with Sacramento last summer, as the final piece to a "Big Three" with Yao and Tracy McGrady, but those two All-Stars are now dealing with long-term injuries.

Houston already knows it will be missing McGrady for the bulk of next season as he recovers from microfracture surgery on his left knee.


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