Yao Ming really was starting to gain respect from critics around the league.
Unfortunately, Yao's season has ended thanks to a stress fracture in his left foot.
This season, the 7-6 center was averaging 22 points and 10.8 rebounds a game.
The Rockets' playoff chances seem all but gone, now that the giant will be out of action. Too bad he couldn't be like Kobe and play through it.
Yao may miss competing for his country in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He does not want to disappoint China and his fans overseas. He would still like to play for his national team pending his healing from the injury.
With this injury, all the weight now falls on the shoulders of Tracy McGrady. The team's other superstar who is often injury-riddled. McGrady carrying this team on his back would be an understatement, as Yao brought scoring inside and rebounding the Rockets sorely needed.
Yao's timetable has been set in the area of five months. He is contemplating surgery.
This injury leaves the door open for teams like Golden State and Portland to fight over the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.