Phoenix Suns center Alex Len to make preseason debut this week

Oct 20, 2014, 10:22 PM | Updated: 10:23 pm
Follow @CraigAZSports...

PHOENIX, Ariz. — There are only nine days before the start of the regular season and Phoenix Suns second-year center Alex Len has yet to see a single minute of action in the preseason.

That’s expected to change soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

The Suns play the Los Angeles Lakers in Anaheim before closing out the seven-game preseason schedule at the Clippers Wednesday and at Utah Friday.

“I want to get maybe one or two games in before the season,” Len said. “It’s important for my conditioning. Game and practice are two different things.”

Len has been sidelined since Oct. 6 when his right pinky finger was hit by rookie point guard Tyler Ennis, causing a new fracture of the same bone he broke three months earlier in the Suns’ Las Vegas Summer League opener.

After sitting out a week-and-a-half, Len was cleared to resume basketball activity. He rejoined his teammates for practice on Monday.

“He had a lot of energy today,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “The first time he got out there in the scrimmage, he got a fast break layup. He was flying. We said, ‘way to run, Alex.’ He goes, ‘yeah, I haven’t done anything for two weeks. I had a lot of energy.’

“He did a nice job today.”

The plan, according to Hornacek, is to see how the finger responds before deciding whether or not Len plays against the Lakers.

“Right now, I think the plan was maybe wait,” Hornacek said, “but some time in one of these three games. But the way he (played) did today if it feels good tomorrow, then I don’t see why not.”

Len practiced with his pinky and ring finger taped with some gauze in-between to help cushion any blows to the area.

“I got hit a few times,” he said. “It was a little sore, but nothing bad so this protection works.”

Len admitted to favoring the finger on occasion, especially on box outs. Catching the ball is not an issue, though shooting — with three fingers — is a bit bothersome.

“This thing is not the most comfortable on the hand, but I’m getting used to it,” he said.

Len said he spent the time he was out watching film, making sure he stayed on top of the new offensive and defensive sets installed in practice. He also worked on his conditioning, running on the side while the team practiced.

As the tallest player on the team, Len is being counted on to provide some much-needed length on an undersized roster.

“Makes us look a lot bigger,” Hornacek said. “When he’s not out there and you’re filling in with (Shavlik Randolph) or somebody. That’s only a 6-9, 6-10 guy and when you stick a 7-1 guy out there, all of a sudden you became a bigger team.

“Yeah, we need him to be out there.”

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns dunks against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at State Fa...
Arizona Sports

ESPN’s Pelton: NBA Draft potentially removed RFA Deandre Ayton suitor

Analyst Kevin Pelton included Ayton's future on a list of impactful decisions this summer, noting Detroit may no longer fit after the draft.
14 hours ago
A basketball on the court during the game between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns at Ca...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Ryan Resch becomes first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history

Ryan Resch, the Suns VP of basketball strategy and evaluation, became the first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history. 
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Deandre Ayton still Suns’ priority, says GM: ‘We want to keep it together’

Suns general manager James Jones said nothing has changed on the Deandre Ayton front over the past several weeks, from his seat at least.
3 days ago
General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...
Kellan Olson

GM James Jones clarifies ESPN article on Phoenix Suns’ draft strategy

Suns GM James Jones clarified an ESPN article that painted a detailed picture of the team's unorthodox practices in the NBA Draft.
3 days ago
NBA draft prospects pose for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, center, before the start of...
Kevin Zimmerman

NBA Draft live blog: Pistons deal for C Jalen Duren in trade-heavy night

Visit for Phoenix Suns coverage as they stand pat without a draft pick or move into the Thursday action.
3 days ago
Tari Eason poses for photos on the red carpet during the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Paolo Banchero steals the show on 2022 NBA Draft red carpet

May all the green room invitees at the 2022 NBA Draft have as colorful of careers as they do draft-day getups.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns center Alex Len to make preseason debut this week