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Yao interview reveals latest challenges practicing with team

February 24th, 2007
by John

Here’s the latest translation from Raymond of a Sohu.com interview of Yao in Atlanta with some candid revelations on what he’s facing practicing with the team again.

Sohu Sports: Yao, do you worry a bit, if you have to pivot on your right leg and make movements?

Yao Ming: Nothing whatsoever to worry about. But sometimes, when I need to turnaround, the rack (i.e. the brace supporter) sort of suppressed my leg muscle, and I could not apply force to my leg. If I do away with the brace supporter, then I can apply force to my leg. The situation is better in the evening than the morning, most probably, the leg muscle has been exercised enough. The feeling in the morning is just so-so, probably the muscles have not been exercised.

Sohu Sports: Even though you still can’t play, you traveled with the team on this Eastern road trip. What has been your consideration?

Yao Ming: I just hope I can re-adapt to the competitive atmosphere along with the team, as most games are so competitive and exciting. Simultaneously, I would also like to observe those new game plan/set plays of the team. After all, I have already missed that many games. I surely need to rebuild that tacit understanding and chemistry (with the rest of my teammates.)

Sohu Sports: You will soon return to play. So up until now, have you encountered any problems?

Yao Ming: There certainly are (new) problems, and alot of them surfaced during the walkthroughs in the past 2 team practices. Because I was injured and sidelined, the team had already made changes and cancelled some tactics and set plays. When I was not on the court, when they had the ball from the exterior, they now penetrated more into the interior. I am accustomed to move up and demand the ball when they had the ball in the exterior. So now often we will clash together. This had happened during the team practice, and therefore it will probably also occur during actual game action. So this has to be resolved during our future team practice. Firstly, it will depend on how the head coach will adjust. Secondly, it is important that we synchronize. By synchronization, I mean, regardless whether I move over to fight for position, or my teammates doing the penetration, we must synchronize, or else we will collide.

Sohu Sports: Now the Rockets are striving to gain home court advantage in the playoff. In your experience, how important is to have home court advantage in the playoff?

Yao Ming: I have played in 2 playoffs so far. Every time you play on home court, you can definitely feel it…..the roaring home fan support, just like the impact of a tsunami. Definitely this will have an impact on the players.

Sohu Sports: So do the Rockets now start to pick their opponents in the playoff. For example, will it be better to face Utah Jazz or some other teams in the playoff?

Yao Ming: I still remember, in the 2004-05 season, we were leading the Dallas Mavericks 2~0 (after playing away). Some people started to ask me whether we would need to play the Mavericks back in Houston. What happened? We got swept by the Dallas Mavericks. Don’t you think you’re asking this question too soon?

Sohu Sports: But Tracy McGrady already said we can talk about the Rockets’ playoff prospects?

Yao Ming: Maybe we are in different situations. He is still playing with the team and therefore he has this kind of feeling. I have been away from this team for a long while now. I don’t have this kind of feeling yet. Maybe after I return to court, after I recapture my form and condition and my confidence, then I will have this kind of feeling. Now I do not have this kind of feeling. I have been idling on the bench for too long now.