HANG TIME WEST – The Suns are hopeful but far from certain that Channing Frye will make a comeback in 2013-14 after missing all last season with an enlarged heart.
“We’re optimistic that he’ll be able to play, but we’re still gathering information about it,” general manager Ryan McDonough said. “We don’t know yet.”
The dilated cardiomyopathy was discovered last fall during a routine preseason physical. At the time, the Suns said Frye would be out indefinitely, with the expectation it would be a long absence, only to have the uncertainty close to carrying into a second training camp and perhaps longer.
Frye, a Phoenix native, is 30. He played for the Knicks, as the No. 8 pick in 2005, and the Trail Blazers before signing with the Suns in 2009. Best known as a shooting big man, the power forward-center has career averages of 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds.
Asked for his gut feel whether Frye will be with the Suns this season, McDonough said, “I hope he’s able to play.”
Is that realistic?
“I think it is,” McDonough said. “I hope so…. It depends what the doctors say. With something like that, you want to get a consensus. A strong consensus. So we’re having him see as many specialists all over the country as he can. Whenever that consensus is – hopefully it’s soon, so that we know – but as long as it takes, basically.”
Meanwhile, in another health issue that could impact the Phoenix frontline, McDonough said rookie center Alex Len, already sidelined during pre-draft workouts and summer league by surgery on his left ankle to correct a partial stress fracture, is expected to be ready for the opening of camp after surgery on the right ankle last Friday. The Suns described that as “precautionary” tlo address “a very small stress fracture.”
“We think he’s going to be ready for Day 1,” McDonough said. “He just had minor surgery on the other ankle, on the right ankle, and it’s going very well. I think he’s going to be off crutches soon and probably in a walking boot for a few weeks. We’re hopeful that he’ll be on the court and able to do full workouts by early-September, and that’ll be give him a month to get ready for training camp, so we’re expecting he’s a full go by training camp.”
Even Len without health concerns as the No. 5 pick in the draft would likely arrive as the backup center. As much as the Suns obviously see him as a building block to the future, and as much as trades are possible on several fronts heading toward the regular season, there is no indication that Len’s presence means an immediate end to Marcin Gortat in Phoenix.