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Yao back in the gym
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Houston Rockets All-star center Yao Ming has resumed light training for the first time since surgery on his injured left foot, according to an entry on his Facebook page.

Yao did some upper body exercises but he is still walking with a stick, which he will require until the end of the month.

The towering center suffered a hairline fracture to his left foot in the Rockets' second-round playoff loss to eventual NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, on May 8. The Rockets initially said Yao would miss eight to 12 weeks but then found surgery was necessary.

The Chinese superstar was unable to play in the Asian Basketball Championships, which started last Tuesday in Tianjin, and is expected to be absent for the entire 2009-10 NBA season.

Yao's workout at the Toyota Center in Houston has excited members of his large fan base.

"Now I won't feel surprised if Yao returns for the next season," said an optimistic supporter on Yao's Facebook page after hearing the news.

The Rockets on Wednesday signed Australian center David Andersen to a multi-year contract to help make up for the loss of Yao.

Yao has suffered four major injuries in the past four years. He missed 21 games in 2006 with a toe infection that required surgery and then 32 games during the 2006-07 season with a right-leg fracture. He missed 27 games before the Beijing Olympic Games after breaking his left foot.

(China Daily August 14, 2009)

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