Channing Frye diagnosed with enlarged heart, out for the year

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.

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