BEIJING -- Yao Ming plans to play for China's national team at the Stankovic Cup ahead of the world championships, news portal Sina.com reported on Thursday.
The 7-foot-5 NBA All-Star broke his left foot playing for
the Houston Rockets in April, an injury that has clouded
China's preparations for basketball's international showpiece, which starts Aug. 19 in Japan.
Yao has been named in the national team for the six-nation
Stankovic Cup in China's eastern Jiangsu province, but said he
was not certain to play in the team's opening game against
Germany on Friday.
"I still can't say whether I'll play. I hope to play. I'll
definitely play some basketball [at the tournament]. There's
only three games left before the world championships," the
report quoted Yao as saying.
The final decision rested with the Houston Rockets team
doctor, who had been sent X-ray images of Yao's foot, the
Yao said he would be eased back into playing.
"I definitely won't be on for my usual playing time, I'll
be taking it easy. At first, I'll play probably 20 minutes and
see how it goes," he said.
China has struggled without Yao in recent world
championship warm-up games, which included a 46-point thrashing by the United States in the southern city of Guangzhou on Monday.