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Yao Ming has surgery on toe, out several weeks

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets proved they couldn't win without Tracy McGrady. Now they will have to prove they can win without Yao Ming.

Yao is expected to miss several weeks after undergoing surgery Monday to clean an infection in his left big toe, the team said.

Rockets team physician Dr. Tom Clanton performed the surgery to clean out an infection in Yao's toe. Yao was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, which is common inflammation of the bone caused by bacteria.

Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said the surgery was successful and that Yao will require antibiotics and rest for several weeks. He did not have a timetable for Yao's return.

Yao returned home from Los Angeles before the Rockets beat the Lakers 76-74 on Sunday night. He has had a problem with his left big toe for some time, missing two preseason games because it was bothering him.

Yao, the leading vote-getter after the first set of returns for this season's All-Star Game, is averaging 19.9 points, 9.0 rebounds
and 1.36 blocked shots.

The 25-year-old All-Star has played in 266 regular-season games since joining the Rockets in 2002. Sunday's game was just the third he's missed in his career.

Losing the 7-foot-6 giant is a blow for the Rockets (10-13), who recently got McGrady back after he missed eight games with a back injury. Houston went 0-8 without McGrady.

Yao isn't the only Houston big man who is hurting heading into
Wednesday's game against Toronto.

Dikembe Mutombo started for Yao on Sunday, but left the game
with a dislocated left finger with 4:51 left. His status for
Wednesday's game was not immediately known, and the Rockets have no
other centers on their roster.

SportsTicker and The Associated Press contributed to this report.