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What does Yao Ming’s Broken Foot Mean for the Rockets?

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An entire city and an entire country are in mourning this week. Throughout Houston, and presumably China, Rockets fans are in shock after having the face of their franchise go down with a season-ending injury. Yao Ming has a fractured foot that is going to keep him on the sidelines for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. 

Losing your most reliable player to injury is a tough pill for any team to swallow. But for the Rockets it is extra sour. They had just climbed their way back into the playoff picture with an undefeated February. Injury-prone Tracy McGrady was finally healthy again and playing at the top of his game. The Rockets’ role players were finally starting to give their superstars the support they need to be a real contender in the West. And then, the wall of China came tumbling down in the form of a fractured foot. What an absolute gut-wrenching week for the Houston franchise. 

The question at hand is where to go next. The Rockets need to clear away the rubble and see if they can salvage the rest of the season. Yes, Yao is gone for the season. But, what does Yao’s injury really mean for the Rockets? Well, I think it goes without saying that they dropped from the real contender category to the still a pretty good team category. With a healthy Yao, McGrady and their supporting cast, the Rockets are a very, very talented team, as their recent performances prior to Yao’s injury proved. However, truth be told, with no Yao the Rockets are not going to be able to beat the other star-studded lineups in the West en route to the title. Consequently, the Rockets will have to wait another year for a title shot. As for the rest of the season, though, the Rockets still have a very good chance at making the playoffs and having a decent showing. If McGrady, Shane Battier, Rafer Alston and Luis Scola can keep playing the way they’re playing at the moment, they will definitely have a season to be proud of. Difficult as it may be for the Rockets to rebound after being dealt such a terrible blow, they are still in good shape.

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales for Robbins Sports and Athletics, a national provider of Basketball Uniforms, Baseball Uniforms and Track Uniforms.