Wednesday , Dec , 31 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Dikembe Mutombo Re-Signs with Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets re-signed 42-year-old center Dikembe Mutombo for the remainder of the season on Tuesday, adding an emotional leader and a backup to Yao Ming.

Mutombo, who supplants 39-year-old Sam Cassell as the league’s oldest active player, appeared in 39 games for Houston last season, logging most of his minutes after Yao broke his left foot in February. Mutombo averaged five rebounds, three points and 1.2 blocks.

He became a free agent after last season and contemplated retirement before deciding to come back for an 18th season.

The Rockets dropped to 20-12 on Monday after an embarrassing 89-87 loss to Washington. Nearly every player on the Houston roster has missed games due to injury this season and Yao has sat out at least 25 games because of injuries over the past three seasons.