Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief.
I'm okay with limiting minutes. No problems there. If the Rockets want to put a plan in place right this moment to limit Yao's minutes - and if they stubbornly stick to it - then I have no problems. But it shouldn't get more complicated than that, though apparently it has.
I missed something yesterday in Jonathan Feigen's blog. Here it is:
The decision to hold him out of the second half of back-to-backs will definitely be visited during the season. They have not decided when they will consider letting Yao play a second game in as many nights, but they will start the season playing only one game in back-to-backs.
This is what irks me. It's not pre-planned. It's a "wait and see" approach that, in this case, may seem necessary, because Yao could progress and get better and doctors could feel he is ready to play in both games on a back-to-back. This, however, brings us back to the days of McGrady, who would wait until the day of or days leading up to a game to announce he wouldn't be participating.
I keep emphasizing the McGrady point because I'm a stickler for team preparation and chemistry, and spontaneous roster decisions that involve a team's presumed best player do not support those ideals.
I'm no doctor, as I've pointed out, but there's no reason to suddenly throw back-to-backs into the Keep Yao Healthy Equation. It's too cautious, and it provokes headaches for everyone involved, from Coach Adelman to fans who thought they'd get to see, at the very least, twenty minutes of Yao's return to basketball.
By the way, here is the list of teams that the Rockets play on the second half of back-to-backs:
From a preseason standpoint, roughly thirteen of those games will be much tougher than the other eight. They aren't easy wins by any means, with or without Yao. And the games against Dallas and New Orleans? Those are divisional games. They carry more weight. Sitting Yao for those games would be an unnecessary bullet to the Rockets' conference standing and overall playoff chances.
Take precaution, Rockets, but leave the back-to-back philosophy alone. It didn't work before. There's no reason to believe it will work this time around.