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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Yi Jianlian on Yao Ming's season-ending foot injury: "I was very upset about it"

By Michael Lee

The greatest basketball player that China has ever produced may be staring down his athletic mortality, trying to decide if he can handle another comeback from another foot injury. But as Houston Rockets center Yao Ming considers the options for his future after discovering that he was done for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, Wizards forward Yi Jianlian would like to see him play again.


How? Now? Will you leave me, Yao? (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

"I hope so. I really hope so. Me, all the fans in China, we really hope that he gets back on the court," Yi said.

Yi is dealing with his own health problems, with a sprained right medial collateral ligament keeping him sidelined for two to four weeks. He said he called Yao shortly after hearing that the injury would cause a premature end to Yao's season. The conversation didn't last long, but Yi wanted to send his former teammate on the Chinese national team some supportive words.

The 7-foot-6 Yao has served as an inspiration for a basketball players in China and generated unprecedented interest in the sport in the world's most populated country. Despite his injury, Yao will likely get voted to his eighth all-star start (both Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady can also thank Yao for helping them make a few February showcase squads) and has made the all-NBA team five times.

Yi has never hid his admiration for Yao, the first foreign-born and developed player to ever become the top overall pick in 2002. And Yi didn't handle the news of Yao's latest setback very well.

"I was very upset about it," Yi said.

Yao missed all of last season while recovering from reconstructive surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot in the summer of 2009. Yao was believed to have sustained his latest injury in the first quarter of the Wizards' 98-91 win over Houston on Nov. 10. Yi had his best game of the season on that night, as he finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Although his future appears cloudy, Yao was upbeat about his situation when he spoke with ESPN.com's Ric Bucher. He said, "I haven't died. Right now I'm drinking a beer and eating fried chicken. What were you expecting, a funeral?"

Yao had previously said that he didn't want to endure another long rehabilitation after his last injury, but he has backed away from that stance. If Yao were to retire, Yi would be the last remaining Chinese player in the NBA. But Yi said he doesn't believe Yao is done with basketball.

"People always talking that he may not come back. But I think for a player like him, he has a pretty strong heart. It would be tough. I don't think he'll just walk away, you know. He'll leave it alone, let it get healthy, see how it goes. But he's got to take care of his foot and get everything well."

By Michael Lee  | December 20, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Yi Jianlian  
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Comments

It's a sad thing. Before he missed last season I might have ranked Yao above Dwight Howard in terms of impact on a basketball game. He certainly would have been in a group with Kobe, Howard, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron as the NBA's most valuable players. But now...

Thing about Yao is how skilled the guy is. He never seemed satisfied with just being the biggest. I don't know if he's as good as Shaq in his prime, but he's probably as valuable to a team he was playing for.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

blame Yao's diet for his injury woes. Brews and chicken and mumbo sounds like the Dray Blatche Workout Plan

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 20, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Yi looks like a PG when standing next to Yao. Sad to hear about another season long injury. Before the injury he was unstoppable.....hope JM can copy some of his post move.

Posted by: Dave381 | December 20, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse


blame Yao's diet for his injury woes. Brews and chicken and mumbo sounds like the Dray Blatche Workout Plan

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 20, 2010 12:10 PM

There may be some truth to that. We never heard about injuries for Yao when he was rolling with saki and moo goo gai pan.

Posted by: ahwyatt | December 20, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Yi ought to get over to that same doctor that Wall went to and found out he had a bone bruise under his knew instead of tendo.

The Wiz med staff strikes again. Can these guys ever get things right. Do they even refer/employ specialists, or are they just general practitioners that diagnos and treat everything themselves.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

All right!!. We're solid in the lottery now. A three slot at the moment, and falling.

Is this the darkest hour before the dawn? I sure hope so. Keep your fingers crossed that JOSH HOWARD's knees hold up.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 20, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Here's a more detailed discussion on the Wiz medical staff. Warning: this is a blog, so you'll find some informed opinions mixed in with some really boneheaded ones. So WI readers will feel right at home...

http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1062110&start=105

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Curiousity got me to googling the Washington Wizards Medical Staff. Found out after not getting any direct hits that there isn't such a thing.

Those of us that have been exorting damning praise upon the Wizs Med Staff have been damning in error.

The Wizards and Sports teams don't have medical staffs. They have athletic trainers.

Eric Waters w/9yrs of NBA experience and the last 5yrs with the Wizs is Head Athletic Trainer.

Koichi Sato and Cory Bennett both have been with the Wizs 2yrs and are Assitant AT's.

Koichi has the additional title of Rehabilitation Coordinator.

The sorry medical history of the Wizs may lie in the doctors they consult or don't consult. Is it the players that decide to go out for 2nd opinions and consults or is it the job of the trainers.

However, this ball of wax works, it appears that a cohesive functioning strategy between the HAT and appropriate medical care and diagnosis is severely lacking.

This can't be something where the player again is mostly/solely responsible IMO.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

http://nbata.theharpethgroup.com/AboutUs/MemberDirectory/NewYorkKnicks/tabid/1676/Default.aspx

This site lists all the NBA teams and their trainers. You will see that their isn't any MD's in their titles. I think one Team has a certified Physical Therapist amoung the bunch.

Thus, it appears the consultation with these training staffs and actual medical treatment is where the breakdowns might occur and if so, for some more than others, i.e. the Wizards.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

We have decried Gilbert Arenas here for his medical injury and him not being able to get back on the court and some have placed major blame on Gilbert himself.

In light of the above, we all might want to take a step back and look at the NBA as a league and how it deals with injury.

Do you think the Houston and Portland fans feel any less cheated than we do because Yao and Oden can't get back on the court.

At least, it appears that Gilbert may finally have overcome his injury and our trainers did not actually screw up Sean Livingston whilst he was here last year.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

We have decried Gilbert Arenas here for his medical injury and him not being able to get back on the court and some have placed major blame on Gilbert himself.

In light of the above, we all might want to take a step back and look at the NBA as a league and how it deals with injury.

Do you think the Houston and Portland fans feel any less cheated than we do because Yao and Oden can't get back on the court.

At least, it appears that Gilbert may finally have overcome his injury and our trainers did not actually screw up Sean Livingston whilst he was here last year.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Most teams have a consulting physician, usually an orthopod or sports medicine type, or they'll contract with a group of sports medicine docs to be available for second opinions on the team's behalf.

Strictly part-time although high profile.

For years the Redskins contracted with Charles Jackson out at Arlington Hospital. But football rosters are much bigger and the doc is usually on the sidelines during home games. Not so with the smaller NBA rosters.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 20, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"This site lists all the NBA teams and their trainers. You will see that their isn't any MD's in their titles."

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 2:02 PM

Well, that might have something to do with the fact that team trainers aren't actual doctors nor are they expected to perform as such. Moreover, that site only lists the head trainers and their main assistant. It doesn't include the strength and conditioning coaches and actual doctors and therapists who are also involved in addressing players' physical conditions.

Do you ever get tired of having no idea what you're talking about? (I'm guessing not, because at this point it's become such second nature for you that it probably doesn't really require any effort.) You're like a kid from a fable who steps into an inch deep puddle and starts building an ark.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"This site lists all the NBA teams and their trainers. You will see that their isn't any MD's in their titles. I think one Team has a certified Physical Therapist amoung the bunch."
Posted by: LarryInClintonMD


Warming up for the Dumb Post contest tonight?

That's the spirit!

Just remember, to actually succeed in winning tonight, you'll have to post something game-related in the game's Open Thread.

And I just noticed that if you win tonight, LarryInClintonMD, you'll be in the lead for the Dumb Poster of the Season title since you tied for winning post in the previous game's contest!

Good luck tonight!

Posted by: EestiLaps | December 20, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

This information you've just spouted is good info. How many bloggers here knew all of that besides yourself. I am sure quite a few.

But it doesn't undue the dominating fact that NBA teams don't have medical staffs, which is really the point.

A team having a medical staff means that they have professional medical personnel in place 24/7 to treat and diagnos injuries.

They don't and is why they refer and consult and players even seek their own medical treatment.

In your haste to diss all over me, it would be better if you would actually read what was being stated and it wasn't an statement based upon opinion but fact not mine own of course.

But don't let that stop you for being your obnoxious petty little self.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Most teams have a consulting physician, usually an orthopod or sports medicine type, or they'll contract with a group of sports medicine docs to be available for second opinions on the team's behalf.

Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Posted by: djnnnou | December 20, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I think aside from the standard sports medicine docs the team contracts specialists that are not always available 24/7. I think there is maybe one primary care family physician on staff but specialists on knees, feet, hands etc are outside of the nba organization.

Aside from that I wanna say i'm sorry for Yao. It seems that people over 7 ft 1 always get injured in the legs but I suppose its natural to support that much pressure banging on hard wood for hours a day. He was the most skilled giant I have seen play the game being better than Muresan, Manute Bol, Ilgauskus, Thabeet.

Posted by: jefferu | December 20, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"A team having a medical staff means that they have professional medical personnel in place 24/7 to treat and diagnos injuries."

And . . . wrong again. Every team has a team doctor who is available on an on-call basis. That is considered on-staff. The same way that a doctor who has privileges at a hospital is on-staff, even though he doesn't clock in every day for an 8-hour shift. Unless you want them to start performing surgeries on the court, there's no need to have a doctor sitting courtside for every team every game. They have just the kind and amount of medical staff they need, a fact borne out by the relatively low percentage of major injuries incurred in a league of more than 400 players who spend several hours every day for 6-8 months running, jumping, and crashing into one another.

"But it doesn't undue the dominating fact that NBA teams don't have medical staffs, which is really the point. "

Oh please. You very clear "point" was to imply that there's a pandemic of substandard, incompetent medical care being provided to NBA players, which is utter nonsense. If that were true then injuries would be a lot more prevalent, chronic, and devastating across the board than they are. But he, don't let little things like facts, history, and reality deter you from yet another of your knowledge-free, crazy-man rants.

It's what you do best, after all.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Which is not to say that there aren't some individuals who aren't up to par on some teams. But the suggestion that the entire system of medical treatment is somehow critically flawed across the board has no provable merit.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh please. You very clear "point" was to imply that there's a pandemic of substandard, incompetent medical care being provided to NBA players, which is utter nonsense. If that were true then injuries would be a lot more prevalent, chronic, and devastating across the board than they are. But he, don't let little things like facts, history, and reality deter you from yet another of your knowledge-free, crazy-man rants.

It's what you do best, after all.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 20, 2010 3:55 PM

On the contrary, that isn't my point at all. If you had read between the lines correctly you would have surmised that I was actually saying that Wizards staff was being criticized overly for results that they aren't really quailified for in that they are trainers and not MD's.

There has been pointed comment after comment assailing the Wizard Medical Staff when in acutally they don't actually have a staff in place 24/7 as is the case for the League, which is a fact.

They all have consults and referrals beyond their training staffs.

The old saying think before you speak, in your case read clearly before you write Kalo_rama, for I was actually saying that the we might want to take a step back in laying medical criticisms on the Wizards staff.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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