Originally Posted by Windex
similar situation with Yao and the Chinese national team
yes. although Yao was never actually rushed against doctors' wishes, as far as i know.
i may be wrong.
it was more a case of his body not being able to sustain the NBA schedule + international schedule. i don't remember him actually playing for China while hurt. Rather, he would come back from China and get hurt in the NBA and spend a season recovering. And then back to China when healthy.
on the other hand, Sabonis actually went to Portland to get a knee surgery and was taken out of rehab by the Soviets to play in the Olympics amid doctors' (both Portland's and Lithuania's) objections.
He literally had a limp to his step during that tournament, and he went on to have issues with that leg throughout his career.
It's not like his body was unfit to handle games, he had quite a few long regular+playoff seasons even into his 30s. While playing for Lithuania during summers. So that seems different to Yao's situation. But when the Soviets tell you to go and be a Willis Reed, you go and be Willis Reed, even for entire Olympics, even if it kills your athleticism for good.