Yao Ming will return to the Chinese men's basketball team in time to play in the Olympics in August, giving the host nation a much better chance of progressing to the medal round of the tournament, according to media reports.
The Houston Rockets All-Star center will return to training with the team at the end of June, both Sohu.com and an international news agency reported. Yao has been in the United States recovering from surgery for a stress fracture to his left foot in March.
However, Yi Jianlian, who plays power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, won't join training sessions at the end of the month in Guangdong Province because of knee and wrist injuries, said Bai Xilin, the team's director.
The timetable for Yi's return is still unknown. Yi missed the final eight games of the NBA's regular season with a sprained ligament in his left knee.
China faces the United States in its opening game of the Olympic tournament in Beijing on August 10.
The 2.29-meter Yao last played on February 24 and said he needs to play in "a couple" of China's exhibition games this summer before they face the US.
China's group also includes defending world champion Spain. Two other teams in the group will be named after a qualifying tournament in July.
(Shanghai Daily May 23, 2008)