PHOENIX - Suns forward Channing Frye never could have imagined life would pile any more on him after suffering a season-ending injury in April, undergoing shoulder surgery in May and enduring his 4-month-old daughter's two surgeries on each eye for cataracts.
There was no imagining he could have a heart virus.
Frye said he expects to miss the coming season because of 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 played for the Arizona Wildcats from 2001 to 2005, will be re-evaluated in December for the possibility of activity, but Frye said 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.
"I want to take a year off and make sure that I'm OK to play and that I'm not going to do any more damage to my heart," Frye said. "There's no reason to push. It's not worth it for the long run. To be 29 and have a heart issue is very rare.
"Other than that, I had a clean bill of health. I'm a 120-over-78 blood pressure guy."
Frye will miss out on a season at an age when NBA big men often are at their peak. The hometown product's best seasons have come in Phoenix, where he averaged 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds and made 434 three-pointers over three years.
He felt like he would be in his best training-camp shape ever, other than the need to rebuild strength in his repaired right shoulder. Frye cleaned up his shooting mechanics and was ahead of schedule for a return to action.
But his heart was pumping out blood at half the capacity of what it had a year earlier. The unpreventable virus attacks the heart muscle severely and quickly, meaning an EKG test before his May surgery would not have indicated an issue. His heart muscle fibers were stretched, weakening the strength to pump blood.
Frye's condition ran the risk of sudden cardiac death, according to cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Grayson Wheatley of the Arizona Heart Institute. He is not Frye's doctor.
Wheatley said it is unknown whether the heart will recover from the infection and regain normalcy.
"It's exceptionally rare to have this problem and even more rare in an athlete," Wheatley said. "His heart is going to have to regenerate quite a bit."