PHOENIX — Channing Frye was the most popular player at practice Monday as the team and the rest of Planet Orange anxiously awaits a ruling from the NBA following Saturday’s altercation with the Indiana Pacers.
However, no word came down from the league during the day, and Frye was left to wonder about a possible suspension.
“I have no clue,” Frye said of how he expects the league to rule. “It’s up to [the league]. I said what I had to say and they’ll do what they have to do.”
The details of the third quarter scuffle primarily involving Frye and Indiana’s Earl Watson have been rehashed a number of times, and both sides seem to differ on what actually went down.
“Regardless of what [Granger] says, I wasn’t going to swing on him,” Frye said after Monday’s practice. “It wasn’t a punch situation.
“I took boxing for a couple summers so I know how to hit somebody if I want to hit somebody. It wasn’t anything like that.”
Frye maintained that he didn’t throw any punches, though he acknowledged that he could see how it might seem that way.
Frye expressed regret for what he said was his emotions getting the better of him, but he ultimately didn’t seem to feel like he had done anything wrong.
“The biggest thing that I regret, outside that action, is the attention that it brings to the Suns — what it does to this team and myself,” Frye said. “It doesn’t reflect how Coach or Mr. Sarver would want us to play.”
If Frye does get a one-game suspension, as it seems the team expects to be the case, he’d likely accept the punishment and miss Friday’s matchup with the Lakers. Gentry was mostly mum about his opinion of the potential punishment and didn’t seem optimistic about Frye’s chances of fighting such a ruling.
“I don’t know one person who’s won an appeal in the history of the league,” Gentry said. “They’re going to make a ruling and we’ll abide by what they decide.”
Frye didn’t agree when asked if earlier actions led to Watson’s slapping of his hands, and Gentry said that he’s “been around a long time and never heard [the Suns] referred to as playing dirty.”
“Cheap shots and dirty things are going to happen,” Frye said. “For me it’s just about leaving it up to the powers that be, the NBA office and security. I know I told the truth in the situation. Whatever happens happens.”
While one Sun returned to practice for the first time in a while, three were held out on Monday. With a longer break, Gentry decided to get some of his players a little extra rest.
“We have four more days before we have to play,” Gentry said. “I’d rather for those guys to kind of try to get themselves healthy.”
Here’s an updated look at the Suns’ injury situation:
Still battling a sore back and nagging abdominal strain, Nash missed most of practice Monday, but he couldn’t stay away.
“I’ve coached for half his career and the guy’s not going to sit out a practice — he’s just not going to do it,” Gentry said. “Some kind of way he’s always in there. I just told him to take it easy and try to get everything back in order.”
Gentry said Nash would play Friday, but he also stressed the team’s focus on being smart with players so late in the season.
“We have 17 games left and our guys understand the importance of them,” Gentry said. “That being said, we won’t do anything stupid. If Steve’s not feeling well, we won’t play him.”
The Brazilian Blur returned to practice Monday for the first time since his Jan. 26 wrist surgery. Barbosa wore a small brace, but was pretty much at full speed. Gentry said Barbosa’s shooting was a little inconsistent, but improving.
“That’s not anything that I didn’t expect,” Gentry said.
Gentry went on to say that he’d be “shocked” if Barbosa didn’t play Friday against L.A., but wasn’t sure about how big of a role he’d play.
“If he’s playing good, he’ll play a lot of minutes,” Gentry said. “If he’s not, he probably won’t.”
Dragic didn’t practice Monday but did spend plenty of time on a stationary bike and in the weight room. The ankle that kept Dragic out of games against the Clippers and Pacers was treated for nearly an hour, but Gentry said Dragic will play Friday.
Gentry also said, with a long break, he would rest Dragic until Thursday’s practice.
“At this stage right now you need one good hard practice and we’ll have that on Thursday before we play the Lakers,” Gentry said. “He wanted to try to play in the game Saturday. But that’s just who he is.”
Richardson was held out of practice more to give him a rest than anything else. He has been dealing with a sore back the past few games.
“It’s not anything serious,” Gentry said. “We’ve got five days, so we just sat him.”