Yao Ming's career could be over

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming(notes) has a stress fracture in his left ankle -- the injury is related to the ankle sprain that he suffered earlier this year -- and you have to wonder if this streak of injuries is ever going to end.

Clutchfans.net has the news:

An MRI performed today on Rockets center Yao Ming revealed a stress fracture of the Medial Malleolus in his left ankle. The fracture, which is related to his previous injury of the Tarsal Navicular bone, presented itself during the course of his current rehabilitation program. There is no timetable for his return at this time.

It should be noted that this stress fracture isn't related to the stress fractures Yao has had to deal with in his actual feet, and that it's only related to the ankle sprain he suffered in November, but if the guy can't come back from a sprained ankle without one of his bones developing a crack (stress fractures aren't clean breaks, but they're serious stuff nevertheless), how is this ever going to work?

"This is very sad," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander told KRIV-TV in Houston. "This is a very disappointing moment in the history of the Rockets organization, for our wonderful fans, for the city of Houston and for everybody in our organization. I feel terrible for Yao."

[Related: Another number one pick injured, career in jeopardy]

Yao's Rockets still have legitimate playoff aspirations. They've had a bad-luck streak in losing both Yao and point man Aaron Brooks(notes) so far, and their 10-15 record isn't quite representative because they've lost quite a few close games. But this is news that tends to enervate, to say the very least.

It could also be the best thing for all involved, as the Rockets start to properly rebuild, and Yao takes another near-full year off to work his feet back to health. But a silver lining like that is just too depressing to consider right now.

[Photo: Awesome Yao Ming Transformer toy]

As it stands right now, this could be the injury that ends Yao Ming's career. Hopefully he has the wherewithal to ignore what many of us would have done by now (accept retirement) and work his way back to health.

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