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With his family in full health, Channing Frye is celebrating a pretty special Thanksgiving

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Channing Frye slaps five during his 25-point night on Wednesday (Getty Images)

The NBA gives its players the day off on Thanksgiving, a nice break considering the scores of games that the league asks its players to play on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, and any number of anniversaries and birthdays. It’s a welcome respite that is best enjoyed by teams that played at home in the game directly preceding the holiday, like the Phoenix Suns – who took down the white hot Portland Trail Blazers in Phoenix on Wednesday, ending Portland’s 11-game winning streak and pulling their record to 8-7 in what has been a surprisingly successful year thus far.

As a result, Channing Frye’s family will get to host a pretty special Thanksgiving at home this season. Not only is his team free from travel on the holiday, but the Frye family will celebrate the good health of the Suns’ big man after he missed the entire 2012-13 season after being diagnosed with a dilated cardiomyopathy.

On top of that, as the Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro reports, the Fryes will also be celebrating the improving health of their daughter Margaux, who is slowly regaining vision after being born last year with cataracts in both eyes. From Coro’s feature:

The Fryes had parental instincts about Margaux’s vision early but kept in denial for a more plausible reason than blindness. Less than two months into her life, doctors said Margaux had cataracts in both eyes and less than a 20 percent chance of gaining vision.

“Your world is absolutely rocked,” Channing said.

Margaux could see only ultra-bright lights, shadows and outlines. A series of five surgeries would need to be performed, one eye at a time.

The unknown was frightening but they had no idea what the depths of it could be. About three months into the daily angst of Margaux’s situation, the Fryes’ world was shaken again.

During routine preseason medical testing, Frye’s enlarged heart was discovered. His heart was pumping blood at half of the capacity of the prior year’s test. Any activity would bring the risk of sudden cardiac death. Frye was shocked and frightened all over again, and Lauren was terrified, knowing the history of heart complications in his family.

Things have improved, however.

Channing is clearly back on track, starting each of his team’s 15 games while averaging over 10 points, five rebounds and nearly a block in just 27 minutes a night. He’s often on the floor to finish games, a go-to veteran contributor in rookie coach Jeff Hornacek’s mostly youth-fueled attack. The Suns were expected to rank near the bottom of the NBA in wins this season, at least in the Western Conference, and yet Hornacek’s young team has turned into one of the NBA’s most entertaining squads this season.

And, according to Coro, Margaux’s health has improved significantly, “above and beyond where we ever imagined she’d be” according to Lauren Frye. The youngster can see 20 feet ahead of her, and will soon be fitted with artificial lenses and bifocals to aid in her recovery.

After a year like 2012-13, Channing Frye isn’t taking these second chances for granted; especially after contributing 25 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in the impressive win over the Trail Blazers. From the Arizona Republic:

“What an awesome job. Take a look at what a great job I have. How about this? I’m back playing and feeling good. It’s amazing. I’m thankful for every day.”

Sounds appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving, Frye family.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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