“As a precautionary measure, our medical staff determined that it would be prudent to perform surgery on Alex Len’s right ankle at this time,” Suns president Lon Babby said in a statement. "That surgery was successfully completed this morning. As part of a routine evaluation, our medical team identified the very beginnings of a stress fracture in Alex’s right ankle even though Alex was entirely asymptomatic."
Len, who was unable to conduct pre-draft workouts because he underwent surgery to "stabilize" a partial stress fracture in his left ankle in May, is expected to be available for the 2013-14 season opener. His initial timeline after the first surgery was placed at 4-to-6 months, but that didn't prevent his name from being floated as a possible No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft. He eventually went to Phoenix at No. 5.
Listed at 7-foot-1-inch, the 20-year-old Ukranian averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a sophomore at Maryland.
New Suns general manager Ryan McDonough addressed Len's left ankle injury following the draft, noting that Phoenix's famed medical staff expected a full recovery and no lingering issues.
“Our medical people, who are some of the best in the league, took a close look at it and studied it," McDonough told Valley Of The Suns. "And we’re confident he won’t have issues going forward. So I guess I’ll just say we would not have drafted him if we thought it was a significant medical risk."
Regardless of how Len's double recovery plays out, Phoenix still has has incumbent starting center Marcin Gortat on the roster. McDonough said recently he has no plans to trade Gortat, who expressed some unhappiness with his role on a struggling Suns team last season.
"Well, I'm certainly not looking to move Marcin," McDonough told Arizona Sports 620 AM last week. "We think he's a top-15 starting center in the NBA, and those guys are hard to find. ... We love his ability to rebound, to screen-and-roll, to finish around the basket, he's a pretty tough guy -- he's strong, he's athletic. Like I said, those guys are hard to find." Hat tip: Eye On Basketball