Season opener to be ‘super special' for Phoenix Suns' Channing Frye
His 18-month hiatus ends Wednesday when the Suns host the Portland Trail Blazers to open the regular season.
Frye is expected to be the team's starting power forward.
"Super special," he said of having his name called during pregame introductions. "That's going to be exciting."
Frye returns after being robbed of the entire 2012-13 season because of an enlarged heart, which had been discovered during a routine physical prior to training camp.
"It's just time for me to step up," he said following practice Tuesday. "I'm going to do the best I can while I'm out there. We'll see what happens. You never know. I can't make expectations of myself because I don't know how I'll feel. This is kind of new territory for us all. It's like opening up a box. You don't know what you get. You might get a head or you might get a million dollars."
Frye has exceeded expectations throughout his recovery.
Medically cleared two days before training camp, he was a full participant in Flagstaff. He then played in six of the seven preseason games, averaging 7.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.0 minutes.
"Well, we'll see what he's got," head coach Jeff Hornacek said. "He's done some good things over the preseason here. If we start him, then maybe we'll have to look at keeping the minutes shorter."
Added Frye, "I might make some mistakes that are like, ‘What is he doing?' But it's just me getting the kinks out and continually trying to get better."
At 30, Frye is the senior member on the Suns active roster. ("Old guy is such a bad term," he said.) He will find himself matched up mostly against LaMarcus Aldridge, a former teammate, on Opening Night.
"For me, I think it's a team concept," Frye said. "He's an all-star, so it's not like I'm just going to sit here and hold him scoreless. I just want him to make him work for everything.
"Whatever I give out there (Wednesday) is going to be the best that I can do at that time and I'm going to continue to get better. (Wednesday) is not the end-all, be-all. I think it's just the start of something, and it's just me trying to step up for the Suns and get a win."
Frye already has one win: His return to action after more than a year-and-a-half away.
"The biggest thing to me was letting my daughter (Margaux, born last April) seeing me run out there. I think that was my motivation," he said. "My son (Hendrix) has seen me play ball and now he just goes for the popcorn. Having my daughter out there to watch me is extremely huge for me. I always look over there (in the stands). If I'm tired, I'm going to be like, ‘I can't be tired for my family and all the people that supported me.' "
Craig Grialou, Reporter
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