First take: Yao out

There’s a part of you giggling, right?

A part of you sighing with relief.

You’re a fan, that’s natural. Just don’t let anyone see you. And don’t say it out loud if you believe in karma.

Yao Ming’s season-ending foot injury might be good for the Lakers post-season hopes, but it’s bad for basketball.

More than anything it’s sad.

One of the best center’s in NBA history is injured again, right as he was beginning to flourish, and you have to wonder how many more years he’ll be able to play now that a lower leg or foot injury has knocked him out for the third straight year.

We don’t get to see Houston’s gentle giant very often out here in Los Angeles, but he’s a joy to watch. Big and strong with soft hands and an even softer touch on jumpshots. Unselfish, sometimes to a fault, with a basketball IQ that’s off the charts.

What’s more, he finally seemed to be developing into a team leader and fierce competitor. Twice in this series with the Lakers, Yao pushed through pain, shooed away the Rockets’ team doctor and tried to carry his team to victory.

In Game 1 he did just that. After knocking knees with Kobe Bryant, collapsing into a heap of pain, he refused to go to the locker room to be checked out, limped back onto the court and helped close out the Rockets stunning victory.

In Game 3, he tried to play through what turned to be a broken foot, knowing it was a game his team absolutely had to have to have a chance to unseat the defending Western Conference champions.

He wasn’t able to finish the game, and you have to wonder now whether he’ll ever get to finish a season on his own terms.

The strain on his 7-foot-6 frame just seems to be too much. Which sadly isn’t that surprising. Basketball is not a contact sport in the way football or hockey are, but the pounding and strain it puts on the joints of extraordinarily tall athletes is tremendous.

More often than not, their careers end before they bloom.

So sigh with relief if you want, Laker fans. It’s not going to be one of your prouder moments in life, though it’s an honest reaction.

But basketball is poorer today. One of its biggest stars has fallen yet again. Let’s hope it’s not for good.

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  • Anonymous

    Well said! I would have liked to see Rockets at full strength and a very exciting series. Indeed, it’s a said day for true basketball fans.

  • Typical Bruin B.S.

    Why should we “hope it’s not for good”? I haven’t seen anyone even infer this is a career-threatening injury. For gosh sakes, this young star already has come back from much, much worse injuries. Does Ramona have some “inside” news that nobody else has? Or was she just desperate for a final sentence to her commentary.

    While she writes that Laker fans may sigh with relief that Yao Ming won’t play the rest of the season and those Laker fans should somehow be ashamed of that, it’s more shameful that Ramona thinks every Laker fan is “giggling” about Yao Ming’s injury. Why would a writer assume that Los Angeles fans “giggle” over other team’s injuries?

    Methinks young Ramona is not ready for prime time.