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Yao out for six weeks
Houston Rockets star Yao Ming fractures right knee in 98-93 loss to the Clippers.
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2006 15:43 GMT
Yao Ming has been enjoying his best season
since he joined the NBA [GALLO/GETTY]

Houston Rockets' Yao Ming is likely to miss six weeks of the National Basketball Association season after fracturing his right knee.

The giant centre limped out of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers as the Rockets slipped to a 98-93 loss. 

He will almost certainly miss the NBA All-Star game for the first time since joining the league.
"I couldn't feel worse for an athlete," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.

"If there's ever been an athlete who doesn't deserve the bad breaks he's gotten the last two years with the injuries, it's him. He works hard and he's in great shape."
Knee injury

The Chinese star appeared to injure his knee attempting to block a shot by the Clippers' Tim Thomas and left the game with more than six minutes remaining in the first quarter.

"Because it's on a weight-bearing surface, we're saying a minimum of six weeks," said Rockets trainer Keith Jones.
   
"We're going to see how it reacts. We think he'll do well with just rest," he added. "An option is to do something more, surgery. We have to wait and see."

The Rockets were already playing without guard Tracy McGrady, who has been sidelined with back spasms for the past seven games.
  
Houston's record without the two stars is a woeful. 

Yao missed 25 games last season with a toe injury and later a broken foot while McGrady missed 35 games last season with back trouble.

The Clippers took full advantage of Yao's absence to end a six-game losing streak with Tim Thomas scoring 21 points and Cuttino Mobley adding 18.

"Obviously, we needed a win and we got a major break when Yao went down," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "The difference in the game after Yao went out is they couldn't post us low and pass out to the perimeter."

Nets lose Nenad

The New Jersey Nets are also set to struggle after an injury to Serbian centre Nenad Krstic that will rule him out of the remainder of the season.

Krstic tore his left anterior cruciate knee ligament making a spin move during Friday's 99-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I went to spin, my knee twisted and I heard a pop," said Krstic, who will undergo surgery to repair the knee.

Andre Iguodala lead the way for
the Philadelphia 76ers [AFP]
The Philadelphia 76ers showed there is life after Allen Iverson by collecting their second straight win with a comfortable 98-77 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday.
   
The 76ers shipped disgruntled All-Star Iverson to Denver earlier in week, and with the distraction surrounding his future removed they were able to focus their energy on playing basketball.
   
Andre Iguodala lead the way for the 76ers bagging 20 points, a night after hitting a career-high 31 in a win over the Boston Celtics that snapped a 12-game losing streak.

The 76ers took control in the opening quarter, outscoring the Knicks 26-17, then kept up the pressure in the second taking a 52-37 advantage into the intermission.
   
They refused to let up and stretched their lead to 75-56 after three quarters and cruised to a convincing win.

Cavalier attitude

LeBron James poured in a game-high 32 points, including 19 in the final quarter, to reach another career milestone sparking the Cavaliers to an 86-83 win over the Orlando Magic in Cleveland.
   
The 32-point night pushed James over 7,000 career points and helped the sputtering Cavaliers to their first victory in four games.

The San Antonio Spurs rebounded from their worst loss of the season as Tony Parker scored 19 points and Manu Ginobili chipped in with 17 to beat the New Orleans Hornets 112-77 in Oklahoma City.
Source:
Agencies
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