Australian basketballer David Andersen on Thursday formally signed with NBA side the Houston Rockets, ostensibly as the man to cover for Chinese giant Yao Ming.
Yao will miss the 2009-10 season after surgery on a hairline fracture in his left foot.
Injured Houston Rockets center Yao Ming stands over his team as coach Rick Adelman talks with Shane Battier, Brent Barry, Ron Artest, Aaron Brooks,and Chuck Hayes as they take a time-out against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 7 of their NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff game in Los Angeles, May 17, 2009. [Xinhua/Reuters file Photo]
The Rockets had secured the rights to athletic center Andersen, who stands tall at 211 cm though some way short of Yao's 229 cm frame, in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks on July 14.
"Obviously to replace Yao is probably impossible because he's such a big guy and such a good player, so I'll just try to step in and help the team out and hopefully get an opportunity to play some good minutes," Anderesen said.
Viktor Khryapa (C) of CSKA Moscow competes for possession with Daniel Santiago (L) and David Andersen (R) of Regal Barcelona during their Euroleague Basketball Final Four semi-final match in Berlin, May 1, 2009. [Xinhua/Reuters file Photo]
"Who knows, if I do well in my first few years over there then maybe I can get lucky and land a big contract," he added.
Andersen has spent his career in Australia and Europe, most recently in the Spanish League with Barcelona, where he averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds last season.
(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2009)