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Yao plans to play after surgery

CHINESE basketball superstar Yao Ming has decided to have more surgery on his broken foot in a bid to return to center court.

Yao will undergo a delicate operation in Houston, Texas, next week and could be back as a player next March if everything goes well, according to, the official Website of the Chinese National Basketball Association.

Chief surgeon will be Thomas Clanton, team physician of the Houston Rockets.

Although detailed plans of the operation have not been disclosed, it will probably be a foot reconstruction, according to Oriental Morning Post.

Yao had surgery last year to pin the broken bone in his left foot.

In next week's operation, this pin is expected to be replaced and the foot rebuilt.

It will take eight months for Yao's comeback if the operation is successful and everything goes smoothly in the rehabilitation period, according to Clanton.

Yao spent some months weighing up the options of either surgery or a more conservative treatment, Oriental Morning Post reported.

Yao consulted doctors about 10 times in the past two weeks, it said.

"If we chose a conservative treatment, there would also be a long recovery period and a lot of uncertainty," said Zhang Mingji, Yao's spokesman and agent.

Yao is confident about next week's surgery. "I take things as they come, but I will come back," he said.

Yao ended rumors that he was going to retire after buying the Shanghai Sharks in an interview with Xinhua news agency yesterday.

Yao said the rumors gathered momentum "after some angry words from me since my injury turned every one of my summer plans into rehabilitation programs."

"As an athlete, I still have dreams to fulfill," he said. "I still have two years with the Rockets in my contract and I think I will sign a new one.

"My doctor and I are very confident that I will fully recover and come back to the court.

"Buying the Sharks has nothing to do with retirement."


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