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Dan Devine

'Gastric distress' continues to plague the Utah Jazz

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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Stalwart Utah Jazz beat reporters Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune and Jody Genessy of the Deseret News both reported earlier Wednesday that center Kyrylo Fesenko(notes) did not participate in Utah's shootaround Wednesday morning and that he is listed as questionable for Wednesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors. The reason? What the Jazz are calling "gastric distress."

On its own, that's kind of funny — hey, let's all make jokes about Fes taking it easy on the XXL Chalupas and strong, black coffee! — but upon further review, it's also kind of weird. See, Fesenko's the third member of the Jazz to be sidelined by "gastric distress" in less than a month. And as we know, one is an accident, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend. (Also, a magic number. Miss you, Shannon Hoon.)

The stomach-crunching affliction caused Deron Williams(notes) to miss practice on Oct. 6; three days later, it waylaid Al Jefferson(notes). In both cases, the ailing players were sent home from practice. (No word just yet on whether or not Fes got the same treatment.)

A couple of weeks back, the dudes at Dime noted the Deron/Big Al coincidence and suggested that "gastric distress" is either "something gross that we don't wanna know about, or it's the NBA's new 'flu-like symptoms' internal code for nursing a hangover." The latter's possible; the former, based on this definition of distress as "nausea, stomach bloating, and possibly also vomiting or diarrhea resulting from a combination of too much of the wrong stuff in your stomach and the stomach jostling that's unavoidable during running and other sports activities," is inarguable.

Either way, you should probably think about stepping your ensuring-your-players-receive-proper-nutrients-and-do-not-have-gross-gut-problems-all-the-time game up, Utah Jazz training staff. You don't want these multimillion-dollar investments to wind up like Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti, whose "extreme gastric distress" forced him to bail out of a recent sold-out, black-tie gala benefit just minutes before the concert started. It'd bum everybody at the EnergySolutions Arena out if megawatt stars like Kyrylo Fesenko weren't able to perform, especially if you made them all wear tuxedos and fancy gowns.

One Eerie, Indiana, postscript to this story that ultimately signifies nothing: A quick Lexis Nexis search for "gastric distress"-related news stories in the past five years only turned up a handful of results from the sports pages — most of which, weirdly enough, involved the Utah Jazz. Ex-Jazzbo Matt Harpring(notes) missed three games during the 2007-08 season as a result of distress, and had an April 2009 flare-up keyed by "a bad stomach reaction to antibiotics he was taking for a previous nasal infection."

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