Lisa: Cheer up, Dad. Did you know the Chinese use the same word for 'crisis' as they do for 'opportunity'?
Homer: Yes. Crisitunity.
I don't know how literal the above quote is (feel free to google it and refute) but in the Western Conference, it is definitely true.
You can't help but feel bad for Yao and the Rockets. I remember two years ago when we got tickets to the All Star Game practice sessions in Vegas. Yao was on crutches then, walking to mid court as KG and the rest of the gang shot at mid court. The man was exceptionally close to being an MVP candidate last year until his leg broke. Now another foot injury, especially at a time when the Rockets were Ballin Outta Control (BOC)! I think the trainers in Houston need to get him some calcium supplements. McGrady must be devastated as well—here comes yet another probable first round exit.
Things aren't all bad for the Rockets, however, as there is definitely an opportunity to fill Yao's role. Time for Luis Scola to show that FIBA Americas MVP game he's been forced to suppress in Yao's shadow. How about a 25+ year old man winning the ROY award for leading the Rockets to the playoffs? It's a pipe dream, and a longshot, but the opportunity is there. They have the ability to play well enough to get into the playoffs without Yao (but who is going to shoot their technical free throws?).
There is also opportunity for those in the race for those final Western Conference Playoff spots. Golden State, Dallas and Denver are circling like sharks now. The Rockets have one game a piece left against these teams, and 11 of their last 26 are against the current Top 9 of the Western Conference. The way the West is now, if the Rockets lose those games in addition to the occasional slip up against lesser competition, it's see you next November.