Justifiably wary of the wear & tear on their chronically disababled franchise center, the Houston Rockets, writes the Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, hope to extend the career of Yao Ming by using him half as often they’d like to.

Yao will play no more than 24 minutes per game, Rockets vice president and athletic trainer Keith Jones said. There will be no exceptions. If Yao has played his 24 minutes and the Rockets have the ball and eight seconds on the clock to make up a one-point deficit, Yao will not play those eight seconds.

Yao™s playing time will not average 24 minutes; it will end there. If he plays 22 minutes in one game, he will not play 26 the next. For that matter, if he plays two minutes one game, he will not play 26 the next. When Yao reaches his 24 minutes, he will be through for that game.

GM Darryl Morey said there will be no uncertainty and no chance of the contentiousness that Noah™s playing time became in Chicago last season, and not only because Morey would want no part of head coach Rick Adelman if it came to that.

œAt the end of the day, it™s all about winning Morey said. œIt™s about winning in the playoffs. We™re choosing to limit Yao Ming and Yao Ming is in agreement that this is the best plan. We want him when it counts the most.”

When Yao inevitably makes the Western Conference All-Star Team after a massive internet tally from China, we’ll have to assume a rival coach — say, Phil Jackson — won’t try to fuck with Houston’s formula by keeping Ming on the floor for a half hour.