The Houston Rockets just received a bit of a boost from the NBA in regard to probably not having Yao Ming available this season. The AP reports: The Rockets applied for a disabled player exception from the NBA a few weeks ago, betting that their All-Star center will miss next season with a hairline fracture in his left foot. The NBA agreed that Yao’s return is unlikely, freeing up about $5.7 million that the Rockets used to sign free agent Trevor Ariza from the Lakers.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I am just speculating, but this probably means that the Rockets likely know for sure that Yao Ming will miss the season and have not yet chosen to announce it to the world. But they must have shown some pretty conclusive evidence to the NBA in order to land the exception a full 3.5 months before the regular season would start. Unfortunately, we must now assume that Yao Ming may not be on an NBA court for at least a year. Maybe the injury is so bad that rumors of his career being threatened are true. Hopefully not.