Yao not yet cleared to play despite 'very good' checkup on left foot

HOUSTON -- The prognosis for Yao Ming's left foot is "very good," but it remains uncertain whether the Houston Rockets' center will be cleared to play in time for a pre-Olympics tournament, his agent said Monday.

Agent John Huizinga said Yao had a checkup Monday that went well, but disputed reports that his client would play July 17-20 in the Stankovic Cup, a pre-Olympics tournament in Hangzhou, China.

"Everything is going very well," Huizinga said in a story Monday on the Houston Chronicle's Web site. "If he is cleared, he might have a chance to play, but it is much too early to talk about that schedule now."

Huizinga did not immediately return a telephone call message from The Associated Press.

Yao, 27, averaged 22 points and nearly 11 rebounds for the Rockets this season. But a stress fracture in his left foot sidelined him on Feb. 27, and he hasn't played since.

Yao said he will not leave for China until the Rockets clear him to practice. On Monday, a team spokesman told the Houston newspaper that Yao is scheduled to meet with team doctors at the end of the month.

"The checkups have been very good," Huizinga said. "But it's much too early for him to be cleared."