The Phoenix Suns didn't intend for rookie center Alex Len to take this long to recover from offseason ankle surgery, but with their fifth overall pick fighting soreness and the team off to a surprising 5-2 start to the year, there's little reason to push the 7'1 big man too hard.
He could be out at least another week to help himself heal.
Len told the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro that he's frustrated about the continuing pain in his left ankle, which he underwent surgery on in May and had a metal plate inserted to fix a stress fracture. After playing the first two games of the year, Len has been out and on Sunday wasn't dressed for play as the Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 101-94.
"I'll take a little setback and come back stronger than I was before," Len told Coro. "Before, I would play a couple games and it would get so bad and worse that I would have to sit out a couple games. So we decided to just let it heal and then come back and play the rest of the season."
Len played eight minutes in the Suns' season opener and contributed two points, two rebounds, a block and three personal fouls. In Phoenix's second game of the year, he recorded three points, a block and a steal in 13 minutes but picked up four fouls.
Without Len, the Suns have started second-year big man Miles Plumlee at center and gone small with Markieff Morris off the bench. Plumlee, last year's first-round pick by the Indiana Pacers, is averaging 11.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.