Yao has been constantly battling leg and foot injuries and has missed major chunks of the previous NBA five seasons.
He missed 21 games in 2005-06 after having surgery on his infected left big toe, then broke a bone in his left foot with four games left in the regular season. He had to sit out for 32 games the next season after breaking his right leg and then 26 games for a stress fracture in his left foot during the 2007-08 season.
Ironically, the 2008-09 season was the most injury-free season for Yao since 2005-06, when he played in 80 regular-season games. Before the May 8 injury, he played in 77 regular season games.
Yao also doubted he will be able to play for China's national team again, although Chinese officials obviously want him to come back.
"It just depends on how well I recover from the foot injury. If my foot can survive the whole season and require no surgery in the summer, I will probably play for China again," he said.
"I think I can still help the Chinese team. But, realistically speaking, I am not the future of China basketball due to my age.
"China needs to have a new generation of players to take the responsibilities (from me)."
The national team is preparing for the World Championships next month in Turkey under American coach Bob Donewald Jr, who is also coach of the Shanghai Sharks, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) club which Yao owns.
"I have heard of several new players emerging from CBA. They have passion, talent and creativity. I hope they can keep those qualities."
Now the ultimate task for Yao is to win an NBA championship with the Rockets, who surprisingly posted a winning season with a 42-40 record without Yao.
"Even some of my close friends bet there was no way for the Rockets to win more than 30 regular season games last season. Just have a look at how much they won," he said.
"I have faith in the team."
(Source: China Daily)