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Channing Frye out indefinitely with an enlarged heart

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Channing Frye (Christian Petersen/ Getty)

Over the past year, the NBA has dealt with a comparatively high amount of coronary problems. Last December, it was announced that Boston Celtics forward and key reserve Jeff Green would miss the entire season after having surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. Then, three months later, it came to light that Green's teammate Chris Wilcox would also miss the rest of the season with an enlarged aorta. These were sad stories, obviously, but also happy ones in that team doctors were able to catch the issues before they became more serious.

No one wants to see more of them, though. And so, on Thursday we got more bad news: Suns sharpshooter Channing Frye is out indefinitely due to an enlarged heart. From the Associated Press:

Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye will be out indefinitely after a preseason physical revealed an enlarged heart.

The Suns said Frye has developed a dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition discovered during an echocardiogram by team cardiologist Dr. Tim Byrne.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle, primarily affecting the left ventricle, which becomes enlarged and can't pump blood to the body with as much force as a healthy heart, according to mayoclinc.com [sic].

On Twitter, Frye thanked fans and well-wishers for the outpouring of support.

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Channing Frye thanks his fans for their support (via Twitter).

Elsewhere, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic spoke with Frye and has more details:

Frye said he expects to miss the coming season due to an enlarged heart caused by a virus that is rare and only treatable with rest, if that even works. It was caught during a recent treadmill stress test that players undergo before each season's October training camp.

Suns cardiologist Dr. Tim Byrne discovered that Frye, 29, had dilated cardiomyopathy and Frye underwent a battery of tests before visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Wednesday for a final accord among more doctors.

"It was very shocking and, at the same time, scary," Frye said. "It's not like an arm or knee or an elbow where you're like, 'Maybe I can just rehab this.' It's something that keeps you going. The only time you hear about things going on like that is (Boston's) Jeff Green getting open-heart surgery or (Sacramento's) Chuck Hayes getting a little scare."

The Suns said Frye, who is signed through 2015, will be re-evaluated in December for the possibility of activity but Frye told azcentral sports several times that he must have six months of rest and expects to miss the season that runs to April. He said his activity will be limited to yoga and golf.

Again, this is very unfortunate news, but Frye is taking the diagnosis with the appropriate level of seriousness and making sure he can return with a full bill of health in the fall of 2013. At 29 years old, Frye has the majority of his life ahead of him, and he intends to use it.

On the court, the Suns were already facing a tough season after star point guard Steve Nash's move to the rival Los Angeles Lakers, and losing Frye's ability to stretch the floor will only make things worse. Regardless, it's tough to think too much of wins and losses when a person's long-term health is at stake. For the NBA, all heart-related ailments bring to mind the shocking death of Celtics guard Reggie Lewis at an offseason practice in 1993. That incident transformed the way that the NBA screens its players for heart defects, and Green, Wilcox, and Frye can partially thank those changes for having their issues caught relatively early.

Everyone at Yahoo! wishes Frye the best in his recovery. He's an active Twitterer, too, so give him a follow if you're interested in tracking his progress.

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