View Full Version : Yao can't shake toe woe

10-10-2006, 03:03 PM
Oct. 10, 2006, 7:50AM
Yao can't shake toe woe
Removal of nail will sideline center for week to 10 days


Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

On the day Rockets center Yao Ming was expected back on the court, he was instead in another doctor's office, this time to have his troublesome left big toenail removed.

Rather than coming back Monday or playing in tonight's preseason opener against the Memphis Grizzlies, Yao was declared out for another week to 10 days in the latest round of his ongoing battles with his toenails. He has had a nail removed three times since July 2004. Last season, he developed an infection that required surgery, costing him 21 games.

"I'm told not to be concerned, but every time something happens, it's a longer prognosis than the previous one," coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We're hoping for the best, certainly. But anyone who is not concerned, anyone who does not have their antenna up, is not seeing the totality of the problem."

Yao went through four practices last week before missing the last two in Austin. He developed bleeding under the nail, which was drained. Yao was not in any pain, but because the nail was certain to fall off, the decision was made to remove it Monday and then shape it as it grows back to try to thwart the problem.

Yet when asked if Yao could have such problems as long as he plays basketball, Rockets trainer Keith Jones said: "It's possible. It's very possible.

"But now with the new nail coming in, we're going to try to keep it trimmed back initially and try to keep it trimmed back even further. Then, with the new shoe, it's got a bigger toe box, a higher toe box. And with the orthotic, when he is repetitively stopping, hopefully it won't be hitting the end of that shoe.

"We're doing everything we can to make it not happen again. We can't say it won't. When he comes back, he's going to be fine."

Including the time Yao already missed, he likely will have been off the court for two weeks and have missed four preseason games when he returns and begins working to get in shape.

Worrisome trend
Yao missed just two games in his first three seasons but went out with the toe infection last season. He also missed the final four games of the season after breaking his left foot. That was enough to create the worrisome prospect of Yao's becoming one of many big men in NBA history limited by inescapable foot problems, a possibility that had Van Gundy renewing his calls that everyone involved with Yao, including his representatives and shoe company, search for a solution.

"Yao is a huge factor in what we're trying to do," Van Gundy said. "His health is a huge factor in us playing well. So I'm just saying, you can make quips and disavow any problem and push the problem to somebody else or something else, or you can take responsibility.

"I think anyone and everyone involved with Yao our organization and everyone that has a vested interest in Yao should be searching for solutions instead of saying, 'It's not us. There's nothing wrong with my area.' No one wants to say, 'I'm to blame, and I'm going to get it solved.' "

Reebok officials last week said Yao's shoes are not to blame for his problems, and his agent, John Huizinga, joked that maybe Yao is allergic to Van Gundy. Both pointed out that Yao wore the shoes during the World Championships.

"What does that mean?" Van Gundy said. "That would not be my response. My response would be, 'That is six games, and that has little impact on what's going on now.' My response would be, 'I'm going to look into the problem, and I'm going to try to get the problem fixed.'

"I don't understand some people's reaction. It was going to be Monday he was going to be back on the floor. 'No problem. No problem. No problem.' Now it's 10 days from now."

Yao's toe issues have become such a problem to his teammates that Rafer Alston said he woke up Monday thinking of Yao's condition and Tracy McGrady said he grabbed a pair of Yao's shoes to inspect the rigidity of the toe box.

"We've got to do something about those damn shoes," said McGrady, who endorses adidas. "We've got to do something about those Reebok shoes. I know adidas owns Reebok, but we've got to switch him over. After feeling his shoe this morning I felt the inside of the toe it is extremely hard. I felt mine, and mine is pretty soft. I think it's the shoe with all the jamming against the hard shell of the shoe. They have to do something about that, because we need the big fella on the court.

"I would think a guy of his magnitude, of his stature, they would fix his shoe situation so he wouldn't have to deal with that, especially coming into this season when he dealt with it last year. Yao has to really get on them about that."

Not the way to begin day
After a season in which Rockets players had a combined 274 games lost to injuries, Alston said: "I woke up this morning thinking about it. I just hope it's not starting already."

To his coach, however, Yao's problems started at least a year ago. Van Gundy is not sure if the solution has begun.

"Let's get it solved instead of saying, 'It's not a problem,' and 'I'm not to blame,' " Van Gundy said. "My concern for Yao is huge.

"They did the right thing. They took the toenail off. Everybody agrees they did the right thing. My concern is Yao has had a number of foot issues in the last few years, and (another concern is) longevity of a career and durability in that career."


10-10-2006, 03:05 PM
One of the best thread titles ever.

10-10-2006, 03:43 PM
i've said it once, i'm going to say it again....toe nail fungus

10-12-2006, 08:00 AM
Toe Nail Fungee (from chinese congee)

10-12-2006, 08:20 AM
Toe Nail Fungee (from chinese congee)


10-12-2006, 09:52 AM
I think maybe it is his female parts that are hurting.

10-14-2006, 02:34 AM
big men always have feet problems. too bad it never happened much to shawn bradley.