4/12/2006 HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will have surgery this weekend on his broken left foot and the injury could take four to six months to heal, general manager Carroll Dawson said Tuesday.

The 7-foot-6 Yao was hurt in the first quarter of an 85-83 loss to Utah on Monday. An MRI performed in Houston on Tuesday showed a crack in the fifth metatarsal bone of the foot, Dawson said. "It can be fixed two ways," Dawson said. "You could just put a cast on it, but it takes forever. The thing most people do is have the surgery."

It is not known if the surgery will prevent Yao from playing in the world championship in Japan, which begins Aug. 19. Yao said he thought he hurt his foot when Utah's Mehmet Okur accidentally kicked it. Yao limped through a few more minutes and converted a three-point play before hobbling off the court with 3:51 left in the opening quarter. Earlier this season, Yao missed 21 games following surgery to remove an infection from his left big toe. Since the All-Star break, Yao has been one of the NBA's top performers, averaging 26.6 points and 12 rebounds.

(Associated Press)