The Phoenix Suns got bad news Thursday when it was learned that Channing Frye would be out indefinitely after a routine preseason physical performed by team cardiologist Dr. Tim Byrne revealed the forward had developed a dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart).
Friday, Frye, Byrne and Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby addressed the media, with an eye towards the future and Frye’s recovery.
“At the end of the day, the most likely cause for this is a virus,” Byrne said. “And many times those do improve and get better, so yes, there’s a very real chance that he could return to normal function and a normal lifestyle, and that’s what we all need to be hopeful for.”
Of course, one of the big questions that has people wondering is if and when Frye will be able to play for the Suns again.
“I would almost say it’s irresponsible for me to push something like this unless I have full clearance from not only Dr. Byrne, but I think he would almost recommend me seeing another doctor,” Frye said. “This is not something to play with because this affects me every day that I’m running out there and pushing myself, so until I get full clearance from the Suns, Dr. Byrne and maybe another doctor, I’m going to hope to come back as soon as I can.”
Babby said that it will be a couple of months before a change in Frye’s status could be expected.
“I think the expectation is that Channing will be re-evalutated probably in December,” he said. “I think, being realistic, our expectation is that he may well miss the season.”
It’s a unique situation for an athlete to face; one where a large part of the rehabilitation process is “taking it easy”. That being said, Frye is still hoping to be a part of the team this season.
“I don’t think traveling a lot is going to be in the cards,” he said. “But I definitely think coming to pretty much all of the games as much as I can and definitely still being around the guys and being there to help build and talk to some of the younger guys.”
From a roster standpoint, the loss of Frye is obviously a huge blow as he has developed into one of the league’s steadiest three-point shooters. The seven-year veteran out of Arizona by way of St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix has made 434 three-point field goals in the last three seasons — the third-most in the entire NBA in that span.
Arizona Sports’ Craig Grialou contributed to this report