Yao finally back at practice

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 4:20 PM ET

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming returned to the court for a workout at the Toyota Center on Tuesday, one day after Rockets consulting physician Dr. Tom Clanton declared his surgically repaired foot has fully healed.

Yao missed the entire 2009-10 season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left foot, a result of an injury he suffered in Game 3 of the second round of the 2009 Western Conference playoffs against the eventual champion Lakers.

"He looks like his old self. He's still got a ways to go on his (conditioning), but it's just good to see him out there," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said of his franchise centre. "We're going to be precautionary .... We're going to manage him, especially early and limit his minutes based on what the doctors tell us to do."

The top pick in the 2002 draft, Yao has career averages of 19.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 481 games -- 471 starts -- over seven seasons with the Rockets. He has been named an All Star in each of his healthy campaigns.

"I'm excited. I ate a cheeseburger to celebrate," joked Yao, who is scheduled to make $17.69 million next season. "But I'm really, really not in good shape right now, so I'm a little bit away from game shape. The good news is we have one month until training camp and two months until the season .... I'm just looking forward to playing a great season in 2010-2011 and I think I can count on my foot now."


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