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ESPN Backs Rockets In Bashing Doctor

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)
Matt TarrContributor IJune 30, 2009

In case you missed any of his 4,000 appearances on the ESPN family of networks Monday, or his Rockets not happy with team doctor">rambling report on ESPN.com, Ric Bucher really, really, really wants you to know that the Houston Rockets are really, really, really unhappy that Yao Ming’s doctor told the Houston Chronicle that the All-Star center’s foot injury could force him to miss next season and (possibly) beyond.

First, Bucher wrote that “the Rockets and Yao’s representatives are appalled that (Dr. Tom) Clanton went public with the results of his examination.” He then went on to reiterate the sentiment over… and over… and over… on ESPN television and radio throughout the day.

We find three things interesting about this story.

First, the Rockets’ front office seems far more concerned with Clanton speaking publicly than they are over the fact this talented young player’s career seems to be in serious jeopardy.

Second, we find it interesting that Bucher made it a point to emphasize that the team was miffed over the doctor’s decision to speak publicly. It’s a subtle way of trying to make Clanton the bad guy in the situation, rather than a national reporter who dropped a ball that was ultimately scooped up by a (gasp!) local newspaper rather than The World Wide Leader.

Third, what exactly is wrong with Clanton answering some questions from a Houston Chronicle reporter? His job is to treat Yao’s foot, not sell season-ticket packages. Nor is it Bucher’s job to shill for the Rockets, for that matter. On Monday, Bucher kept harping on the fact that the Rockets “interpreted” Clanton’s report to the team the previous week to be far more positive than the one he conveyed to the Chronicle. For all we know, Clanton’s motivation for taking the reporter’s call was to clear up the team’s sunny public “interpretation” of their star’s future.

The bottom line is Yao Ming’s foot injury looks to be pretty damn serious, and that’s truly unfortunate.


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