Channing Frye discusses his heart diagnosis and the road ahead

Posted by on September 21st, 4:27 pm

Channing Frye’s heart diagnosis that the Phoenix Suns announced Thursday came as a big surprise to the power forward. In a video of the Suns’ press conference held on Friday morning, Frye came across as positive and humbled despite learning of his enlarged heart.

“It’s extremely humbling having people want to pray for you and just wish you the best. For me, it’s just been how impactful we are as NBA players,” Frye said at the press conference.

“The support group that I’ve had from the Suns, from my family, old coaches, old players … like ‘Channing, you’ll be fine no matter what.’ I think has really motivated me even more excited to come back. Every player doesn’t want to think about the end, but at the same time, if you can kind of get a glimpse of that and have people say, ‘Channing, you’ll be fine regardless,’ it makes me feel OK but it makes me feel also, I’m not done yet.”

While the Suns and team cardiologist Dr. Tim Byrne said there will and should be no timetable for Frye’s return — Lon Babby reiterated the stance that the team will reevaluate the situation in December — they all remained optimistic on a number of issues, including Frye’s potential return to the court. Only time will tell whether that’s this year or not.

“This is my reality, and I have to just deal with it and just stay positive,” Frye said.

From the video on Suns.com, I’ve pulled out the most informative quotes to answer all the major questions about Frye’s condition, how it was found and what the future holds.

Is Frye definitely out this season?

Babby, Frye and Dr. Byrne aren’t going to say yes or no. Frye’s health is the main concern here, so there’s no jumping to conclusions. If and when his heart shows signs of complete normalcy, he’ll be able to return.

“I want to be optimistic,” Frye said. “After four months, five months … the road to recovery is basically rehab my shoulder, walk, do like yoga, pilates and play a lot of golf. For me it’s just chillin’ out and really not getting my heart rate up too high.

“It’d be irresponsible for me to push something like this … until I get full clearance,” Frye added.

Dr. Byrne said the enlarged heart could go away rapidly or could take a while. It depends on the individual case, another reason for a timetable not being set toward a return.

What has to go right for Frye to be cleared?

The answer to this is simple. Frye won’t play until he’s 100 percent. To be cleared by the team means he’ll be able to jump completely into the fray, so he must be able to play at the highest level before he’ll be allowed to return. With such a serious health issue, it’s all or nothing.

How was the heart issue caught?

Babby and Dr. Byrne credited the NBA’s league policy for catching Frye’s heart problem. They both described it as “very strict.” The enlarged heart was caught by a required preseason echocardiogram.

Frye joked that he was fearing the test because he was forced to run on a treadmill beforehand, which isn’t easy for a man as tall as Channing. When Byrne told him of the issue, Frye said he thought it was a mistake considering he had no signs of ailment leading into the routine exam.

What exactly is the cause of Frye’s dilated cardiomyopathy?

Said Dr. Byrne: “We still don’t really know. (Frye’s) most likely cause is a virus and many times those do improve and get better. So yes, there is a very real chance he can return to normal function and a normal lifestyle.

“The chance is better than not.”

Dr. Byrne added there was little chance that genetics were involved in Frye’s case.

When did the issue arise?

The test was administered about two weeks ago, Frye and Babby said. Frye kept it under wraps and sought out opinions from numerous doctors. His visit to Minnesota this week found what most everyone else had, giving Frye confidence he had a good handle on the diagnosis.

Byrne said the problem was caught very early, making him optimistic about the prognosis.

What will Frye’s involvement be with the team?

During the offseason, Frye said he was working out twice a day and had been extremely motivated by the pressure placed upon him as one of the Suns’ few returning veterans. Now that he’s out, he still mentioned a deep involvement in the team.

Frye will take this weekend to let the situation soak in before letting the team know how involved he’ll be.

“Me, I like being involved, I like being part of the guys, but at the same time I understand I have to let them have their own chemistry,” Frye said. “I look at it as a rare opportunity to be with my family … see how everything goes on behind the scenes (in the organization).”

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Channing Frye · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns News

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ty-Sun // Sep 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Well, I just wish Channing Frye the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

  • 2 Scott // Sep 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    My bet is that he’ll be cleared to return to play around the All-Star break.

  • 3 Elviro (Italy) // Sep 22, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Hello guys,
    I returned … the season is approaching …. and they are super excited! I want to see new suns will know what to do!
    I read on the website of the “Gazzetta dello Sport” (an Italian newspaper that passes all sports news NBA) Frye and am truly sorry for both the person and the team that loses a player still important and can open the field …
    I make him my best wishes!
    I do not know if and how it will be replaced at this point … aggiornatemi!

    Meanwhile, let me give you some advice for purchases directly from the “planet basket” Italian: there is a player who has put a lot of light in the last qualifying Europeans off the “front page of newspapers” at some Danili Gallinari: it is called Luigi “Gigi” Datome!

    is strong from outside! is strong inside!

    these are some of his “business cards” …. how can you not be anchors in the NBA? (is n. 13 with the jersey of Italy … beard and long hair … but you’ll understand just ask is …..)

    http://youtu.be/Vp6WFlngL7I

    http://youtu.be/FPhlQrxYW5M

    http://youtu.be/_koh6CMcMzs

    http://youtu.be/xd4US4iQx6M

    http://youtu.be/p6M0ZwH3OtQ

    observers Suns … keep an eye on!!!

  • 4 B. Cray Z. // Sep 22, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Well, Scott, if you want to bet, my bet is that he will be gone.

    What a shame, because he is more valuable than most folks know. Nice guy too for the chemistry of the team.

    Kiss of death is what Babby just gave him. Most recently, he gave his public adoration & unwavering support for RoLo, one of your faves. Just before that it was for one of coach’s faves (& mine), Grant Hill. Back at last year’s All-Star break (& all of last year) it was for his “Sun & Moon & Stars” (a.k.a. Steve Nash). Like many a sleazy liar – I mean lawyer – many of whom hold political office, Babby just lies, over & over. Most of us will forget & forgive is how he must rationalize his premeditated lies. As he continues down a path of trying his best to destroy the team, he is playing each of us for a fool, as he believes that he can manipulate us by his P. R. statements & vigorous “hopeful” type activity designed to give each move a positive spin. What “positive spin” is there for getting rid of RoLo, besides ridding ourselves of Hakim as part of the deal? If we look at what we got back, Johnson may sell tickets from curiosity seekers about a former #4 pick, when any analysis of his game will show that will not help but rather hurt the team by his play. That fits perfectly into his plan. Even the Eric Gordon “signing” was just a P. R. ploy. He knew that we had no shot. Eric is now shooting off his mouth about the Hornets being a multi-year championship team & making the playoffs this year. This is the same Eric who publicly hated his Hornets & loved the Suns. Now he is singing a much different tune. The point here is that Eric loves to sing. Babby, knowing Eric’s eagerness to sing, used it as part of his P. R. ploy to glorify a deal that he knew was not real but all show. After the RoLo dump, who knows what kind of junk he plans for us to get in return for Frye? Frye was an important part of that killer bench unit we used to have.

    MUST reunite that killer bench unit. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • 5 Geo // Sep 22, 2012 at 10:41 am

    If im correct thats usually when the suns start to wins more games.

  • 6 Scott // Sep 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    @B. Cray -

    With his slightly oversized contract, and his skill set largely duplicated by the younger and cheaper Morris, it has seemed to me that Frye was logically already on the trading block. However, if it was going to be hard to trade a guy who for his career has really has only played well for the Suns and with Nash, I imagine it will be more than twice as hard to trade a guy who was good only with Nash and who also now has a history of heart trouble.

    It’s quite possible that this “murmur” about his heart ensures Frye stays with the Suns till his contract runs out. I think he’ll likely be back before the end of this year, and be a contributor, and maybe even help lift this team into the playoffs. After that, he’ll be around two more years … because he has another year guaranteed, and the next one is player option, which I expect he’ll take. Possibly he’ll retire at that point, or take a buyout and retire a little early if his heart trouble is looking more impactful than it does at the moment.

    As for Robin, I think he and Gentry didn’t get along, or at least that they didn’t quite connect in an ideal way. As with Dragic, Robin may need to play with another team to find his real role on the floor. I’ve suspected this for a few years now; that for whatever reason (mental, coaching, circumstance), Robin wasn’t going to mature as a player without going to another team. I wish him luck, and I hope the Suns keep a good relationship with him, because some day they might want him back (years from now, as a veteran minimum player, or who knows what).

    I don’t have a problem with Babby. He may tend to talk a bit too emphatically or sweetly about the players, but I think that’s the way he actually feels. He tends to keep a positive outlook and is a bit of a cheerleader. However, whatever Babby is saying relates only to Babby, a guy who has no influence over player movement. Blanks is the guy who calls the shots about who goes and who stays.

  • 7 Daniel // Sep 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I do feel for Frye in this time as he is going through this tough situation, and hope he gets back to full fitness soon. But in saying that I do think Phoenix has to let him go.

    Even before this condition came along I was tossing up between Childress and Frye for the amnesty contract. The reason being is that Childress was worth every penny of his contract, just not in the team he was in. He has skills that not many other players have in the league. The only thing he can’t really do is shoot and in a team with Nash, your SG’s and SF’s must be able to shoot the 3′s. Whereas Childress is a great driver and lay-up player, not really suiting the mould of the team. But with this new direction and new team, Childress would’ve blossomed. But instead he’s gone to Brooklyn as a bargain.

    The reason Phoenix should’ve let go of Frye instead is because he is siply over paid to be a 2nd string forward. With the addition of Scola (who will most likely start), and Morris (who I believe is better than Frye) pushes Frye further down the pecking order. And to be on one f the highest salaries of the team and being a possible 3rd string player, I just don’t see the profit in keeping him. He can’t really play the centre role as he is more of a shooter, when the suns need more of a post player. And all in all I think Childress is a better player than Frye when Childress plays to his strengths.

    Again, I do feel for Frye and hope he gets better soon, but the Suns now find themselves in a tough predicament. I don’t know how this works with his salary but I’m guessing he will still be paid and it will still count towards the salary cap. And he won’t be traded, as no one wants someone who won’t be there. But yes, this is very tough for the Suns to workout.

  • 8 DBreezy // Sep 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I don’t think Frye’s contract gets that interesting to the team until next summer. At that point if things are still ambiguous, you have to think they’ll consider a medical retirement application because of the extra cap space it would free up. The play of Morris and the fact that Scola will officially be trade bait by then could also factor in.

  • 9 Scott // Sep 24, 2012 at 1:29 am

    @DBreezy -

    It’s possible that Frye will be fine.

  • 10 Serek // Sep 24, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Either way the lineup doesn’t suffer that much. Channing was supposed to be out until January anyway, so the replacements are already in place.
    As for trades, nothing really changed. Scola couldn’t be moved during the season, Frye still had 2 years so he was hardly tradeable anyway. O’Neal is on vets minimum, so he is no cap relief candidate, and the rest of guys are the future.

    The only one suffering from this is Channing himself and hopefully the condition will subside. He’s a really nice guy, I hope he continues to be around the team building the chemistry up.

  • 11 DOLORES FISHER RDCS // Oct 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    MY SON JOSHUA SACHS PLAYED FOR CHANNING FRY’S AAU BASKETBALL TEAM FOR A WHILE THE FRY DOGS. I AM AN ECHO TECHNOLOGIST OR CARDIAC SONOGRAPHER AND IN MY 20 YEARS , I HAVEN’T SEEN A PATIENT COME BACK 100 PERCENT FROM A DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY WHICH MEANS ALL FOUR CHAMBERS OF THE HEART ARE ENLARGED, THE LEFT VENTRICLE THE MAIN PUMPING CHAMBER OF THE HEART, THE RIGHT VENTRICLE, RIGHT AND LEFT ATRIUM. HE MAY NEED A HEART TRANSPLANT. BASICALLY, HE WILL BE A CARDIAC CRIPPLE.

  • 12 Channing Frye cleared as Suns head to training camp // Sep 30, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    […] body count loomed. In the past few weeks, Channing Frye seemed ready to say he was back from an enlarged heart diagnosed last September, but the team remained quiet until Monday as it sought a unanimous consensus from doctors at Johns […]

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