Updated Oct 28, 2013 - 3:14 pm
Phoenix Suns' Alex Len practices, hopeful for season opener
That is still the plan, but with the trade of Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards, the door is now open for Len to play right away, gaining valuable in-game experience rather than watching from the bench.
"My first NBA season and I already get playing time," he said. "It's exciting; just go right at it. I think it's going to help my progress. I'm going to learn so much faster."
The learning begins this week -- that is, if his left ankle feels OK.
Len missed the preseason finale at Denver and subsequent practice time after experiencing some soreness in the ankle, the one doctors operated on in May. He underwent surgery on the right ankle in July.
"I haven't played for like six months, so of course it's going to be sore," he said. "It's not just (the) ankle, its muscles around it because I didn't move my foot for five straight months."
Len was back on the court Monday, going through a full practice including five-on-five full court.
"(The) ankle still feels a little bit sore when I go up and down, but in the half court it feels alright," he said. "I hope the ankle is going to respond good after this practice. We'll see how it feels."
"(Len) looked pretty good (Monday.) I think we'll see after today how he feels," head coach Jeff Hornacek said. "Again, if it's one of these things that he wakes up tomorrow and he's sore again, then we'll have to talk how maybe just keep him out until it's totally gone. But if he comes back (Tuesday) and says, ‘I feel fine,' then hopefully he just continues to play."
The Suns open the regular season at home against the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday.
"I'm excited. My first NBA game, of course I'm going to be excited," said Len, who averaged 2.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.4 minutes in five preseason games. "I don't care how many minutes I play. I just am going to go out there and just play as hard I as I can. Hopefully my ankle feels good. I'm just going to try to play with a high energy and help the team win games."
Craig Grialou, Reporter
- Suns' Hornacek on Len, Goodwin: 'We couldn't just throw them out there and hope for the best'
- The Pulse: NBA Playoffs will have your attention over summer
- Suns guard Goran Dragic: 'Consistency' was vital in winning Most Improved Player award
- Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic: 'I'm going to try to get better every year'
- Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic named NBA's Most Improved Player
- Goran Dragic, Suns guard - Wednesday April 23Suns guard Goran Dragic talks about winning the Most Improved Player of the Year Award.
- Tim Kempton, Suns analyst - Wednesday April 23Tim Kempton defends his vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
- Tim Kempton, Suns analyst - Tuesday April 22Suns radio analyst Tim Kempton calls in to react to the blast.
- Bickley Blast - Tuesday April 22Bickley blasts on postseason awards and how making it in the playoffs makes a huge difference
- Eddie Johnson, Suns analyst - Monday April 21Suns analyst Eddie Johnson talks about the NBA playoffs.