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MMPG: Player of the Week

Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

OMG, Tracy. Why you leave me hanging? :-) - Yao. (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

Instead of informing the Houston Rockets personally, Tracy McGrady delivered the startling news on his website that he was going to need microfracture surgery on his bothersome left knee and wouldn't play again this season. It was the latest distraction in what has been a frustrating season for a Rockets team that some considered an NBA championship contender before this season began.

But with the McGrady down, the pressure is now on Yao Ming to carry the Rockets in a similar fashion as McGrady did last season, when Yao went down for the season with a foot injury. Yao appears up for the challenge. He didn't let McGrady's absence -- or the trade deadline deal that sent Rafer Alston to Orlando -- bring down the Rockets last week, as he averaged 20.3 points on 24 of 42 shooting (57.1 percent) with 10.7 rebounds and two blocks to lead Houston to wins over New Jersey, Dallas and Charlotte.

Yao gave his team as scare in the first quarter of the Rockets' 93-86 win over interstate rival Dallas on Friday, when he collided with Mavericks forward Josh Howard and clutched his knee. Yao got up to finish with 22 points and 13 rebounds as Houston handed Dallas just its third loss this month. Yao has scored at least 20 points with 10 rebounds 14 times this season, reaching those figures in three of his past four games. It's no coincidence that Houston has also won four in a row.

By Michael Lee  |  February 23, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
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It's kinda hard to believe the team knew nothing about Tracy needing surgery. Didn't he go to their doctor?

Posted by: original_mark | February 23, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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