He arrives early on game nights, usually finishing a modest shooting routine before the early fans enter US Airways Center two hours before the opening tip.

This is the time reserved for main-court work by the Phoenix Suns' out-of-the-rotation players, with the others chugging through several grueling drills while he waits for an opportunity to squeeze in a few jumpers.

"I'm kind of like car in the garage you haven't gotten to yet that just needs to sit," Channing Frye said at the end of one of these sessions.

Right, the car that has been parked since the check-engine light went on during a routine stress test. At age 29, the Suns' power forward was diagnosed with an enlarged heart caused by a rare virus.

So, as his teammates attempt to climb out of another early season cavern, their 6-foot-11 floor-spacer waits in the wings, monitoring the ups and downs front the second row, wishing he could go out and occupy some help-side defenders.

Although his shooting range was incapable of helping the Suns reach the playoffs the past two seasons, Frye's importance to the efficiency of their offense was genuine.

According to the analytics heads, the Suns' points-per-100-possession numbers have been much greater with Frye on the floor than not over the previous three seasons. The only player who moved the needle more in the team's favor was Steve Nash.

But with a logjam of good-but-not-great guys at power forward on the current roster, Frye's ability to pin a help defender at the 3-point line and help Marcin Gortat protect the rim could help . . . eventually.