Yao Ming Diagnosed With Rare Case Of Tracy McGrady Disease

Elijah MandersContributor IJune 30, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06:  Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a foul called on him in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Is this the karma bestowed on you when your team name is a weapon that kills people and your home city is the headquarters to many right-wing corporations and Dubya? Houston Rockets' fans and most of China must be asking themselves why they haven't gotten their act together to "Free Tibet" yet.

Yao Ming seems like a great guy. He is the only 7'6" basketball player in the history of the game who can actually shoot, dribble and make fairly quick (for his size) moves to the hoop. He actually seems to have a competitive edge and a will to win, unlike some of the other freakishly tall members of the league that have come and gone.  Maybe George Muresan, Arvydas Sabonis, Sean Bradley or Manute Bul have a foot they can offer up as replacement.

I hope that Yao comes back without surgery and is able to play. The Houston Rockets are a compelling team. They have the unique Yao, the reformed Artest and a sleu of other gutsy and less-famous performers that make them intriguing. And they took the Lakers to seven games in the playoffs, which is more than the cocky Nuggets and the disappearing Magic can say for themselves.

We know one thing for sure about Yao Ming's injury situation: Whether or not he can come back and play next season, or ever again for that matter, he is a lock as an All-Star starter.

It seems clear the next logical move for the Rockets is to trade a few healthy, good young players to the Suns for Amare Stoudemire who will fit in nicely with a lineup of chronically-injured stars. Maybe Penny Hardaway is available to come in and coach.

The Rockets will field a feisty, inspired lineup with or without Yao, but over the course of an 82-game season they will miss his presence mightily. My optimistic prediction is that he will come back from this injury and play at a high level again. Hopefully, he will skip his duties for the Chinese national team and heal properly. He is an immense talent and a joy for fans around the world.

Great, gracious basketball players don't grow on trees. Ming grows over them. We'll have to wait and see how long it will be until he is dunking over the rest of the NBA again.