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Suns’ Jermaine O’Neal out with irregular heartbeat

The Phoenix Suns have been without the services of veteran center Jermaine O’Neal for the last two games, and there had been some uncertainty as to just why that was.

Earlier this week, news spread of a heated argument between O’Neal and Suns general manager Lance Blanks. O’Neal took to Twitter to refute some of what had been reported, then disclosed that he was dealing with a medical issue.

O’Neal didn’t play in Thursday’s 93-88 win over the Los Angeles Clippers either, but did take time after the game to update his health status.

“The health issue was an irregular heartbeat,” he said. “It was scary. At 34 years old and you’re having issues with your heart not beating the way it’s supposed to beat and causing shortness of breath and dizziness — it’s not about basketball.

“I have two kids, I have a wife, I have a family I take care of and that was a concern.”

The Suns, unfortunately, aren’t unfamiliar with heart issues affecting players on their roster. Channing Frye has missed the entire season after he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart before the beginning of training camp.

“The last few days, they ran significant tests to figure out why the irregular heartbeat was happening,” O’Neal said. “So they put me on some medication. This is a three or four-day process to figure out if that helps — I’m not sure if that’s going to help.”

The Suns hit the road for the next two games against San Antonio Saturday and Dallas Sunday. O’Neal says he’s planning to travel with the team, but his playing status for the near future is still very much up in the air.

O’Neal is averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 32 games this season, his first with the Suns.


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