Yao Ming On The Road To Recovery

Tuesday October 20, 2009 3:39 PM

On The Road To Recovery

Rockets.com's exclusive interview with Yao Ming

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Staff Writer

Houston - Yao Ming has been a regular at Toyota Center over the last two months while he rehabs and recovers from the surgery he had this summer on his injured left foot. Last Friday, Rockets.com had a chance to watch Yao workout with his personal trainer Anthony Falsone and after they wrapped up, both men sat down for exclusive interviews which you can now watch by clicking on the videos above.

Among the topics discussed:

(Yao on the latest update on his recovery):

We’ve heard some good news from doctors: the bone is healing well and we add something new every couple weeks so we can improve things. Basically, so far, so good.

I always just keep telling myself to have the right attitude to face it because I think a good attitude will help me. Obviously, I have a lot of time right now to do something besides basketball – it’s too much time and makes me feel boring (laughs).

(Yao on what he does to fill all his free time now that he’s not playing basketball):

It’s a good time to study some. I’m reading some books about everything and also things I’m interested about. Back to school days, history is my favorite class, so I have times to read those books now. History books that tell you what’s happened in the last 100 years – the revolutions, the war, the economy – some things I relate to.

(Yao on his conversation with Cleveland Cavaliers’ center Zydrunas Ilgauskas prior to undergoing surgery this summer):

I really appreciate him. We had a talk before I had this surgery. Obviously people know his injury history and he told me about his experience about how he felt after the surgery and his rehab experience. I think that’s really helped me and made me relax because during those days before the surgery I was really, really nervous and really tired of hearing different ideas about how to treat this injury. Hearing his voice has really given me the confidence to come back to the court.

(Yao on his thoughts on the Rockets’ new up-tempo style of play):

I keep thinking about it. Those fastbreaks we have will really, really help us; not just because they get you a quick score but also because it relieves the pressure from the main guys on the team when T-Mac or me come back.

(Yao’s message to all the fans who are following his progress):

I would like to take this chance to thank those fans. Their support is my strength.

(Falsone on Yao’s progress):

Right now we’re in a place where we can’t do a lot but we’re doing what we can. Dr. Clanton is overseeing the whole process, Yao’s working with myself and Darryl Eto, the Performance Director for the Rockets. So I think he’s really in a good place and, like Yao said, every couple weeks we do something new and we’re happy with how it’s going. His attitude has improved dramatically as we’ve gotten further along in the process. Every day he’s getting a little bit better.

(Falsone on the way his mindset and outlook have changed since Yao’s injury was discovered):

There was a down (period) for both of us. I take it very personally with him: I feel his successes are mine and vice versa. That feeling was probably the lowest point. I would go to his house during that time and we couldn’t really do anything or work out, it was really just information gathering time. I’d go to his house, we’d be by the pool and just sit there, just to be together. You couldn’t really say anything to make it better because we just didn’t know.

But gradually over time, Yao is a naturally positive person… and it was kind of one of those things where we both pulled each other up in a way. I’ve seen him get better. I keep thinking as we get to January, we’re going to be more on a program that looks like a basketball player’s and that’s what I’m looking forward to. But until that time we have to do the right things, go slowly, proceed with caution; it’s not really in either one of our natures but that’s what we’re doing.

One good thing we’re going to get from this is a little bit of a break. We haven’t had that. If people knew what Yao went through, either in preparation for the Rockets or the national team, they’d be amazed. Now we’re going to get a bit of a break, he’s going to get a chance to go back to China in December and just kind of enjoy himself a little bit because when we come back around February it’s going to be gearing up and our preparation is going to start for the season in 2010.

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