Suns forward Channing Frye will be out indefinitely due to an enlarged heart, the team announced Thursday.
The 29-year-old Frye was diagnosed by the team’s cardiologist, Dr. Tim Byrne, with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that was discovered during a screening as part of a routine preseason physical. He will be re-evaluated in December, until which time he will not participate in any basketball-related activities.
Frye, who was expected to miss the start of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery, told the Arizona Republic that he expected to miss the entire season but was hopeful that the virus would go away and he could resume his career. He is scheduled to meet with the media on Friday.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of our players,” said Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby. “Channing and his family have the full support of our organization. His health is our primary concern, and we are committed to helping him in any way he needs.”
Frye’s condition is similar to those that were responsible for the deaths of former Boston Celtics forward Reggie Lewis, who died in 1993, and former Stanford forward Pete Sauer, who died earlier this summer playing pickup basketball.
Cardiomiopathy makes the hard work harder to pump blood, which enlarges the heart and can lead to heart failure. Dilated cardiomiopathy, which is what Frye has been diagnosed with, is more common than hypertrophic cardiomiopathy, which afflicted Lewis.
Frye has spent three seasons in Phoenix, averaging 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. In 2011-12, he posted 10.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
A Phoenix St. Mary’s High School product who starred at the University of Arizona, Frye signed with his hometown team on July 14, 2009. He previously spent two seasons with Portland after spending his first two seasons in New York with the Knicks, who selected Frye with the eighth overall pick in the 2005 draft.
The Suns added to their frontcourt this offseason with the amnesty-waiver claiming of Luis Scola from the Rockets and the signings of Michael Beasley, expected to start at small forward, and Jermaine O’Neal, expected to back up Marcin Gortat at center.