Yao Ming says his surgically repaired left ankle is healing properly and he would like to remain with the Houston Rockets.
Yao said Thursday that he won't know until later this summer if he'll be able to play next season. He becomes a restricted free agent July 1.
A stress fracture in the ankle kept Yao out of all but five games last season and he had surgery in January.
Yao spoke during a visit to a Houston elementary school. He answered questions in English, and taught the children to say ''good morning'' in his native Chinese.