I’m so bummed about Yao resigning.  I just can’t believe it.  Well, not really, considering what he went through with his injuries, surgeries, rehaberies, and the like.  Went to the Rocket’s website a while back and just clicked on a Yao video. It was a take of him going to visit a school and how all the little children “Ooh’d and Aah’d” over the super hero visiting their class.

And of course all the media was there to highlight and capture the event.  Thought it was going to be just a nice touchy feely clip….but then….boom….the reports just started hammering Yao about the next season; if we was coming back, when he was coming back, how was his foot and ankle feeling, what he was doing for rehab and practice.  They would not let up.  It just seemed a little out of context for the school setting.  All along I was wondering, “Why couldn’t they help him? What if?  What if they could have got him back?

I won’t go into biomechanics on this post.  I mostly want to talk  about the whole scenario regarding Yao (if you want more on the biomechanics and causes for BIGS, I went into it in detail on my recent post:  Bigs: Are they more prone to injury? The answer may surprise you……http://bit.ly/ko3dMi).  Yao acknowledged earlier this year that injuries may force him into retirement.  He has become a “global icon”, connecting the NBA to China and across Asia.  In fact, China is the NBA’s second biggest market.

Looking back over Yao’s injury journey, I was stunned when I studied some of the procedures.  They actually lowered his arch.  I’ve spent years specializing in foot biomechanics and how the foot functionally affects the ankle, knee, and hip for athletes such as throwers, golfers, and ballers, and I have not worked with anyone who has had this procedure.   I spent a year shadowing an orthopedic surgeon  that was a foot specialist so I could learn everything I could from the surgical side of the foot.  Never saw him do that one.  Obviously, it was a special situation and I get it.  However, it still leaves me scratching my head.

My question is this: Were the biomechanical causes ever addressed?  Were they?  Why did he get a stress fracture to begin with?  If he had a stress fracture at his medial malleolus, it was not the ankle’s fault.  What was causing the medial ankle to take the hit or to encounter undo stress?

What if we found one, just one, piece of the puzzle that was overlooked? What if that was enough to take the stress off of the ankle or whatever else was messed up on Ya0? What if?

Yes, maybe he was to the point of no return.  But I just can’t believe it.  I can’t.  And I don’t think I’m just some subjective optimist.  I have seen it many times where an athlete was deemed “done” or slated for surgery and once we got to the causes, he started improving.

I look at Yao and all the work he put in and how much he improved over his career and I just have a hard time grasping it and cannot accept that it’s just because he’s BIG.

I would have done anything to get to Yao.  I called the owner, I tweeted Yao, and sent info to the Rocket’s new caoch, Kevin McHale.  I called Les again, and again, and again. Strike 3 (actually it was many more times than 3).  I was out.

What if?

Well, I do like Yao and he will be successful at whatever he puts his hand to and his next venture I’m sure will be awesome.  He was not only the “face of the franchise” for the Rockets, but for all of Asia and he will be missed.

Michael Griffith