Yao Ming, Rockets to play in China

NEW YORK -- The Houston Rockets will play two preseason games in China against the New Jersey Nets, giving Yao Ming a chance to return to his home country.

The NBA announced Wednesday that the teams would play Oct. 13 in Beijing at the Wukesong Arena, site of the 2008 Olympic basketball competitions, then Oct. 16 at the new Guangzhou International Sports Arena.

This will be the NBA's fifth set of preseason games in China and the second involving the Rockets, who drafted Yao with the No. 1 overall pick in 2002. They took part in the inaugural China games in 2004.

Yao missed last season with a foot injury but is expected to be ready in time for the season.

The Nets recently traded China's other top big man, Yi Jianlian, to Washington.