Channing Frye diagnosed with enlarged heart, out for the year

Posted by on September 20th, 4:23 pm

Channing Frye will be out indefinitely after the Suns discovered during a normal preseason physical that he has an enlarged heart, the team said Thursday in a release.

Frye spoke to Paul Coro and told him he’ll take the entire 2012-13 season off. The ailment is apparently due to a virus that will likely subside, and Frye told Coro he has no plans of retiring from the NBA.

The Suns added that Frye will not be doing basketball-related activities, and the medical staff will monitor his heart in the meantime. They’ll reevaluate the power forward’s situation in December to see if he’s able to resume playing basketball then.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our players,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby in a statement.  “Channing and his family have the full support of our organization.  His health is our primary concern and we are committed to helping him in any way he needs.”

The medical term for Frye’ s ailment is “dilated cardiomyopathy,” and it’s one of those things that is scary beyond the basketball court. If you’re looking for some hope, Ronny Turiaf is the symbol in basketball that even a heart defect serious enough to require open-heart surgery isn’t enough to keep someone with enough, well, heart on the sidelines.

But we’ll skip the guessing about the seriousness of the matter. What we do know is that the Suns could have been without Frye to start the season anyway although Coro reported he was ahead of schedule in his comeback from a subluxed shoulder suffered in the third-to-last game of 2011-12.

In the interim, we do know Phoenix has capable bodies to replace Frye’s 10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and shooting stroke. Markieff Morris is a big key to replacing Frye on both ends of the floor. A summer in the weight room for defense and a consistency on Morris’ jumper could help the offense stretch the floor a la Frye. Obviously, Luis Scola’s role is now more important as well.

And on the peripheral positions to Frye’s home at the 4, Jermaine O’Neal might become more of an option at center since there was talk from Alvin Gentry that Frye could spend time backing up Marcin Gortat this year. Michael Beasley could also play more at the 4 if the Suns want to go small.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and

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Tags: Channing Frye · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns News

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 that dude // Sep 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Bummer.. Best of luck and a full recovery to Frye .. Scary stuff

  • 2 Lloyd I. Cadle // Sep 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I will be praying for Channing….a great guy!

  • 3 Scott // Sep 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Best of luck to Frye, though my feeling is he’ll probably be okay.

  • 4 shazam // Sep 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    get well channing..we all like you..on another note…there goes our midseason trade bait

  • 5 sun also rises // Sep 21, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Man that sucks. Time to set the expectations clock back another five minutes, lol.

    But on the upside this means less wishy washy commitment to the 4 on Gentry’s fault. Now he’ll be forced to give Keef some actual backup minutes which is one silver lining.

    Get better soon CF.

  • 6 Michael // Sep 21, 2012 at 1:15 am

    All the best for you Channing!
    This will open up some playing time for Beasley at the 4 plus a must for a breakout season for Markieff.

    What happens to Channing´s salary now? I don´t know how this works in NBA. Does it change anything with Suns salary?

  • 7 Zola // Sep 21, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Cheers from the Philippines. I will be praying for you, Channing.

  • 8 5ko // Sep 21, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Will/Can Suns pick someone else now replacing Channing for the season? …..anyone

  • 9 Michael // Sep 21, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I don´t think there needs to be another player added. We still have 10 players to be in the rotation plus Telfair and Tucker.
    Out of those 10, there are 5 players who can easily share the minutes at the 4 and 5 (Gortat, Scola, Morris, O´Neal, Beasley).
    Looking at the free agent market, there´s nothing left that could help the Suns performing any better.

  • 10 Andres // Sep 21, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Although Barbosa plays a different position could this mean that Suns may actually negotiate with him for the veteran’s min now that there’s an extra spot in the roster?
    I’m glad that the Suns were “well prepared” in terms of having enough players that may play PF plus this will help Morris get more playing time.

  • 11 HankS // Sep 21, 2012 at 6:25 am

    And so, all of a sudden, Solomon Jones has got himself a job, while the Suns’ supposed big-men logjam has cleared itself out. Now the Suns are two-deep on every position with Bassy, P. J. and Solomon manning the pine and doing some NBDL service.

    Hopefully Channing will be alright, he’ll be missed even if JO’s body holds and Morris can pick up a bit of Fry’s long-range bombing…

  • 12 Ty-Sun // Sep 21, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Best wishes to Frye. I doubt the Suns will do any fishing in the FA market because of this. Solomon Jones was coming to camp on non-guaranteed contract and I think Frye’s absence just gives him a better shot at actually making the team.

  • 13 Tony // Sep 21, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Wow, what a bummer. I hope you get well soon Frye.

    Well, the season begins soon and already bad news for the Suns. Not a good sign of things to come for this franchise.

  • 14 Andres // Sep 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @ Tony

    This could end up being a blessing in disguise as it means more time for Scola and especially for Morris. Scola is a consistent player while Fyre isnt. I’m sure that Morris with a full preseason and good playing time will be consistent as well.

  • 15 JT's Hoops Blog // Sep 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Such a tough thing to happen at a rather young age. Hopefully he will have a speedy recovery. On the bright side, his departure will give more minutes to Markieff Morris who would certainly benefit from the increased playing time.

  • 16 Scott // Sep 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    @Tony -

    It would have been much worse for the team if this heart condition had occurred at the start of last season, as the Suns were already depleted up front. Wasn’t it just Gortat and Frye, with Lopez, Warrick, and Morris? That’s pretty thin, considering Warrick rarely got off the bench, and Morris was a rookie with no Summer League or training camp experience.

    This year, fortunately, even without Frye they have Gortat, O’Neal, and Scola providing veteran depth, and Beasley and Morris to provide youthful athleticism and shooting range.

  • 17 Fan From Gilbert // Sep 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I will be praying that you have a speedy and safe recovery, Channing. Please get well soon.

  • 18 sun also rises // Sep 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Awesome and insightful comments as always JT. You only repeated what three people already said instead of the usual five.

  • 19 Ty-Sun // Sep 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Referring to Michael’s question about salary, I don’t think that the Disabled Player Exception applies to teams under the salary cap… which the Suns are. As far as I can tell, the Suns will continue to pay Frye his normal salary and it will still count against the salary cap even if he misses the entire season.

  • 20 Scott // Sep 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Keep in mind that Frye will be getting a re-evaluation in December. Despite what Frye said about staying out the whole season, it is possible that if the damage is mild and he regenerates quickly – the most optimistic scenario – he could resume basketball training in January.

    Everyone wants to err on the side of caution, which is as it should be.

  • 21 Dan // Sep 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I don’t know what the crossover is between Suns fans and people who watched Dragonball Z, but if Channing’s heart virus is anything like Goku’s, he will come back better than ever. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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