Well, you knew eventually the injury bug would hit the Suns. The team has been relatively healthy all season and in a game played by big, strong men who like to touch each other in a manner that can only be described as "hard", it was only a matter of time.
Here's the specifics:
Channing Frye Out Two Or Three Weeks With Dislocated Shoulder - SB Nation Arizona
In an official announcement, the Suns stated that Frye would miss two-to-three weeks. The two-to-three week estimate translates to 10 to 14 games. It should be noted that is a preliminary estimate that is subject to change.
The Suns are 17-3 when Frye scored 15 or more points and as we've said all season, his improved defense and rebounding combined with his ability to stretch the floor and create space makes him an extremely important part of any Phoenix success.
For more on Frye's hard work this season, read this great story for details like this:
The Lesson Of Channing Frye: Patience And The Value Of Free Agency - SB Nation Arizona
Defensively however, his rebound rate has increased from 17.6 as a center last year to 20.1 as a power forward this season. That puts him in the same category as Pau Gasol, Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka, and Chris Bosh. Ironically enough, he's ahead of Amare Stoudemire who's rebounding at an 18.3 rate, which according to Hoopdata.com, is consistent with Amare's last three seasons.
The Suns have 21 games left and are currently in 9th seed in the West. Unless things improve from this initial prognosis, Frye will be out at least 10 games and possibly more. We are talking about the shooting arm or a guy who is dangerous when he's taking shots. 10 games feel optimistic.
While the Suns have been
playing very well winning games of late, this is why you can't just blow off what happens early in the season and count on a late run to get you in the playoffs.
The off-season moves that didn't work, followed by the December trades that set things back again, put the Suns in a hole that was always going to be difficult to climb out of.
Add to Channing's shoulder a banged up Steve Nash who talked today about his groin injury, "It's not great, it's not good. But it's not awful. I'm hampered a little bit but I can still play 40 minutes. I don't feel worse than I did yesterday. It's tender. I'm not as effective moving but I still feel like I can contribute."
I am playing around doing some video. These are early experiments with holding a mic, recorder, and camera all the while trying to pay attention and watch two or ten things. Not good, but as they say, it's a work in progress.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 03/07/11 4:32 PM MST ]
FWIW, Goran Dragic had a 12 point, 5 assist game, 2 steal, 2 turnover game (19 min) against the Pacers. It's normal for people to give the benefit of the doubt to new players so take this report from the Rockets blog with a little grain of salt. Then use some more grains on anyone that thinks Aaron Brooks has proven himself worthy of trading a 1st round pick, plus Dragic to get his expiring (restricted free agent) contract yet.
Rockets 112 - Pacers 95 Recap - The Dream Shake
Goran Dragic can be very, very good. I was a big AB0 supporter, but I'll say it now - if this is a representative sample of what we get from him, he's better than Brooks. His decision making could improve, but his skills and effort are starter caliber. He's also tall and totally fearless.
This one is going to take several more weeks to assess and then it will still come down to how much the Suns have to pay to keep Brooks from going elsewhere.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 03/07/11 5:58 PM MST ]
My take on how the Suns will play without Frye:
Without Channing Frye, Phoenix Suns Will Have To Piece Together A Power Forward - SB Nation Arizona
Channing Frye has the highest plus/minus rating (+93) of any player not named Steve Nash (+289) and looking at the five-man unit plus/minus chart on NBA.com, he is in the top eight groupings. He's easily the second most important player on the team this year.
Frye's point totals will be missed but not nearly as much as his ability to both space the floor and be a big body on the defensive glass and in the paint.
Just as we suspected, Bill Kennedy has the greatest negative free throw differential for any NBA crew chief. One other NBA ref name pops up in the research as well.
Also, Scott Howard goes ballistic breaking down the Suns playoff stretch schedule.