Since being selected by the Suns fifth overall in 2013 NBA Draft, Alex Len has had more ankle surgeries (1) than made baskets in a game (0).
Sidelined on draft night after undergoing surgery on his left ankle in May, news came out that the former Maryland center underwent a different procedure — this time on his right ankle — in July.
At the time, the Suns said the move was precautionary more than anything, but it still raised some red flags among the team’s followers.
A guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough reiterated a lack of concern in his rookie’s health.
“We knew when we drafted Alex he had an issue with the ankle, obviously he had had surgery on it,” McDonough said. “Frankly, there were other players in the draft that we had more significant concerns about, injury-wise.”
McDonough may have been referring to former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, who many thought the Suns should have selected but is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season.
But still, that Len has essentially needed two surgeries before he could ever step foot on the US Airways Center Court seems like an issue that should not be ignored.
But as McDonough noted, the most recent surgery was not exactly necessary.
“That was something that we even could have waited on and not done surgery, potentially, and it may have healed on its own, but it may not have,” he said. “So we just figured while we did surgery on the first one might as well clean up the second one, and he can rehab them both at the same time.”
Len is coming off a season in which he averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. The Suns view him as a long-term option at center, believing he will grow and evolve into an upper-echelon starter.
And though that process has been stunted a bit by the injuries, McDonough says his top pick, who is about ready to ditch his walking boot, should be ready to get back on the court soon.
“We’re hoping that he’s ready to rehab, fully, the entire month of September, and we’re hoping he’s a full go when training camp starts in late September.”