Houston All-Star center Yao Ming is out for the season because of a stress fracture in his left foot, a stunning blow to the surging Houston Rockets. General manager Daryl Morey made the announcement Tuesday.
Yao was having a terrific season, averaging 22 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
"It is not an injury we feel he can play with," Rockets team doctor Tom Clanton said. "I've made the recommendation that it be treated surgically, and we are working with him to get other opinions just to be certain that that is indeed what should be done."
If Yao chooses surgery, Clanton said, it would involve placing screws across the bone to hold it together. The second option would be to treat it with a cast and crutches. Both options involve a healing time of about four months.
Clanton would not say when Yao could play again, but said he didn't expect the center to miss the Beijing Olympics in August.
Morey told the team before Tuesday's shootaround.
"We've been playing exceptional ball, and Yao's been a huge part of that," Morey said. "We feel very confident about our playoff push."