• 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 Clanton told the Houston Chronicle that the Chinese superstar's broken left foot could cause the popular sports figure to miss all of next season and could be a "career-threatening" injury. Clanton pointed out that the injury in Yao's left foot has worsened.

    "One of the things we are trying to get is a consensus opinion on that, to make certain there is no option we are overlooking at that would provide an earlier return or would be an option for treatment that (Yao) would prefer rather than doing additional surgery," Clanton said.

    Yahoo! Sports first reported that the Rockets as well as Yao's representatives were concerned that the 7-foot-6 giant would never play again. Yahoo! Sports quoted "multiple league executives, officials close to Yao and two doctors with knowledge of the diagnoses".

    The hairline fracture was discovered following the Rockets' May 8 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. The original treatment plan called for Yao to cease all physical training and to wear a walking boot to immobilize the foot.

    Lingering injury

    Less than two weeks ago, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said the team was committed to building around Yao.

    "Yao is the cornerstone of our franchise now and in the future," Morey said before the latest test results.

    Yao played in 77 regular-season games in 2008-09, his most injury-free year since 2004-05, when he played in 80. Before last season, Yao missed portions of the previous three seasons with leg and foot injuries.

    He missed 21 games in 2005-06 after surgery to heal an infection to his left big toe, but then broke a bone in his left foot with four games left in the regular season.

    In 2006-07, Yao missed 32 games after breaking his right leg and suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in 2007-08. He then underwent surgery and sat out 26 games.

    Yao recovered from that foot injury to represent China in the Beijing Games. He made it through the Rockets' season and the first round of the playoffs before breaking his left foot late in the Rockets' 108-94 loss to the Lakers in Game 3 of the second round at the Toyota Center.

    Two days after the playoff loss, Yao said he didn't believe the injury was as serious as any of his previous ones. The Rockets said he would miss only 8-12 weeks.

    (China Daily)

  •     BELGRADE, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Slovenian basketball club Union Olimpija failed to accomplish a stunning reversal against Tau Ceramica of Spain on Thursday, suffering their second defeat in the second round of Euroleague, Europe's premier basketball competition.

        The club from the Slovenian capital Ljubljana lost a nail-biter against Tau Ceramica with 90-91 before the cheering home crowd, the Slovenian news agency STA reported.

        After clearly dominating the first half and heading into half-time with a 12-point lead, Tau Ceramica built up an impressive 21-point lead (49-70) by the end of the third quarter, said the reports.

        Union Olimpija's captain Marko Milic effected a reversal with seven consecutive point and took Olimpija within six points of the Spanish club five minutes before the final whistle.

        In the nervous final minutes, a three-pointer by Jonathan Wallace took Olimpija into the lead for the first time. But Tau Ceramica scored through Mirza Teletovic just three seconds before the end.

        One week ago, Union Olimpija opened this year's campaign in theEuroleague in Badalona with a 64-81 loss to DKV Joventut.

        Slovenia's sole representative in Euroleague is playing in Group C, which also includes Turkey's Fenerbahce Ulker, Lottomatica Roma of Italy and Alba Berlin. Tau Ceramica survived the tough test on Thursday and became the only undefeated team in the group.

        Union Olimpija aims to progress through the group stage, which the team has failed to achieve since the 2003/04 season.

        The first stage of the 2008/2009 Euroleague is to finish on Jan. 15, 2009, with the top four of six teams in every group advancing to the Top 16 stage.