Tuesday , Jan , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Yao returns for Rockets

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Houston Rockets center Yao Ming started
Monday’s game against Memphis, returning to the lineup six weeks after
undergoing surgery on his left big toe.

Yao hadn’t played since December 17 against the Los Angeles Clippers, and the
Rockets went 6-15 without their 7-foot-6 center in the lineup. Yao had 15
points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes on Monday, but the Rockets lost their
third straight, falling 86-77.

The procedure cleaned out an infection in Yao’s toe after he was diagnosed
with osteomyelitis, a common inflammation of the bone caused by bacteria.

Yao took antibiotics for several weeks to help the infection heal properly.

A three-time All-Star, Yao came into the game averaging a career high 19.9
points and 9.0 rebounds per game this season.