• Spain, Greece, Argentina and the United States will head separate groups at basketball's world championship in Turkey next year.

    The draw, held Tuesday in an Istanbul hotel, divided 24 teams into four groups of six, with each team playing the other five in their group. After that, the top four teams in each group head into a knock-out stage.

    Spain won the last championship in Japan in 2006. Argentina is currently the top-ranked basketball country, and the United States won gold at the Olympics in Beijing.

    The championship will be played August 28-September 12 in the cities of Ankara, Kayseri, Istanbul and Izmir. 

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    (L to R) FIBA Sports Director and former basketball star Lubomir Kotleba, Puerto Ricon basketball player Daniel Santiago, former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon and former Turkish basketball player Efe Aydan attend the draw for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

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    2010 FIBA World Championship mascot performs during the 2010 FIBA World Championship draw in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

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    Dancers from the Fire of Anatolia perform during the 2010 FIBA World Championship draw in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

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    The 2010 FIBA World Championship trophy is seen on stage during the 2010 FIBA World Championship draw in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

    [Agencies]

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    Players of Guangdong team celebrate after winning the men's basketball final against Shandong team at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 28, 2009. Guangdong won 81-76 and took the gold medal. (

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    Cao Zhenhua (R) of Shandong team vies with a player of Guangdong team durnig the men's basketball final at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 28, 2009. Shandong team lost the match 76-81 and took the silver medal.

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    Players of Guangdong team celebrate on the awarding podium after the men's basketball final against Shandong team at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 28, 2009. Guangdong won 81-76 and took the gold medal.

     (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

  • Reports that a severe foot injury will end NBA all-star center Yao Ming's career have been quickly dismissed by his agent.

    "I heard some reports say Yao's career might be over due to the worsening injury," said Zhang Mingji, who goes by the name of Eric Zhang in the United States. "I don't think it's the right time to say that.

    "I can assure you the (Houston) Rockets have never come to a conclusion concerning Yao's career."

    Zhang, however, did admit that the previous treatment on the superstar's broken left foot did not work as hoped.

    "Obviously, the treatment on Yao's injury was not effective. The team is considering adopting new treatments. But it's yet to be determined."

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    Houston Rockets center Yao Ming's broken left foot could be a "career-threatening" injury. Dr Tom Clanton, the Rockets' team physician, told the Houston Chronicle on Monday that Yao's injury "has the potential for him to miss next season and could be career-threatening".

    The China Basketball Administrative Center said it's been informed of the news but a chief official assumed it would not rule Yao out of the World Championships next year.

    "We have got the news from Team Yao that his injury is not recovering well," said Hu Jiashi, deputy director of the sport's governing body. "But they did not say if Yao will miss the NBA season, not to mention the possibility of missing the World Championships next year."

    On Monday, Houston Rockets team physician Tom