Yao Ming Injured: Bad Break for Houston Rockets

Jeff Little@@JeffLittle32Senior Writer IFebruary 26, 2008

An almost perfect February for the Houston Rockets has turned into a devastating nightmare. The Rockets won 12 games in a row this month led by Yao Ming averaging 22 points per game, placing them in the seventh spot if the playoffs started today.

Unfortunately, it was reported today by several media outlets that Yao Ming has a stress fracture in his foot, requiring season-ending surgery.

The Rockets were considered by some to join the elite teams in the tough NBA Western Conference. This is nothing more than passing thought at this point.

The Rockets and Tracy McGrady were trying to do all they could to finally make it out of the first round of the playoffs, but it appears that streak will remain intact. This puts the franchise in a bad spot. They'll have to play more up-tempo and small ball, but their effectiveness in the half court offense will grind to a halt.

This effectively ends the Rockets 2007-08 season. The Rockets will probably go after the only free agent big man out there, Jamaal Magloire, or call on the ageless Dikembe Mutumbo in the short term.

However, the long term ramifications of this injury are huge. This puts the Rockets in a need for a center in the upcoming draft and the next free agency period. It is difficult to build your team around Yao Ming and Tracy Mcgrady who are both injury prone and have spent a portion of the season out with injuries. It is a known fact that injuries are part of the game and sometimes can't be avoided, but for the Rockets to move into the company of the other elite teams they need more youth who are injury-free.

This devastating news for the Rockets now puts them on the clock for a center ASAP to be the future of the franchise.