HOUSTON — Yao Ming is returning to the Houston Rockets.
The 7-foot-6 All-Star center said Tuesday that he has picked up his player option for next season, the last year of his five-year contract. Yao sat out last season following reconstructive foot surgery, and said he wanted to see how his foot recovered before making his decision.
Yao says he's resumed basketball activities and should be 100 percent when training camp begins.
If he had turned down the player option, Yao would've become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday. He is due to make $17.7 million next season. Yao and general manager Daryl Morey would not say if the two sides are working on an extension.
The Rockets selected Yao with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft.