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Sidney Crosby has the mumps.
This can be met with two reactions. One is the obvious 'Duh' following his apperance to Pittsburgh media Friday where his jaw looked swollen -- one day after missing practice with a mystery illness. The other is a real Homer Simpsonish 'D'oh'in regards to how the whole thing was handled.
The team basically didn't totally deny that he had the mumps, despite of his below 'mumpsish' appearance with the big cheek (props to 84 Lumber for all the publicity) and Crosby sort of said he didn't have them ... and then magically later in the day "further test results" came back, which indicated that Crosby should be held out for two games "as a precaution."
Meanwhile, it was surmised by many that he did indeed have the issue, which had only infected 584 people in the United States last year, but has ravaged the hockey community.
Can someone say "stall tactic" please?
The whole situation was botched. Trotting him out in the locker room to talk to media with a swollen cheek, and then spending the rest of the day backpedaling, instead of just relaying the truth, was not smart.
The optics look weird that it took exactly the two games that it was announced he would miss to confirm he had the mumps.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said the positive test results came back Saturday night, and that team doctors said Crosby could skate Friday. Penguins team doctors telling Sidney Crosby he could skate when he shouldn't. This brings back memories of something...
Maybe we're being too conspiracy theorist here, especially when it comes to a rare illness. But then again the whole situation doesn't smell right. It certainly didn't look right Friday. Honesty is always the best policy. Half truths catch up to you eventually.
Regardless of how this was handled, who knows, maybe this will cause the hockey community to be even more proactive, instead of some simply laughing it off.
Plus, the mumps isn't exactly seasonal. What if a star player contracts it during the playoffs. What will happen?
Recently, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Canadian Press that it was indeed an "outbreak" which was his strongest public-wording yet on the issue.
Anyway, for those looking for blame, or wondering how, why this is happening in the NHL, refer to Jen Neale's CSI Miami style story, that finds patient zero to possibly be the Blues' Jori Lehtera.
Update: The Penguins sent out a release via Twitter, which includes the below timeline of Crosby's mumps issue. It said Crosby had been given a booster before the 2014 Olympics, and the Penguins team also was given boosters, as well as Crosby.
“It came about as a bit of a surprise to us,” head team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas said in the release “Every indication was that he was well protected against the disease.”
Regardless of what's said here, it just has the feel that until we actually see a real medical test, it's tough to know how or why this had to be so confusing.
Also note that Crosby was held out of Thursday's practice with a mystery illness. This is not specifically addressed in the timeline as a sickness (though there is a Dec. 10-11 spot explaining swelling in his salivary gland, but no fever, chills etc.)
Nov. 28 vs. Carolina
Crosby suffered an injury to the right side of his neck – the salivary gland. He was tested with a CT scan and for mumps. All blood tests came back negative. Was given medication to bring swelling down.
When medication for the salivary gland was stopped, Crosby developed swelling next to the injured area. Another series of tests, including mumps, were conducted. The tests showed no indication of an infection.
Crosby showed no symptoms of mumps such as fever, chills or generalized body aches.
Dec. 12 vs. Calgary
Crosby’s swelling and condition worsened. Crosby’s DNA was sent to the CDC for a sophisticated test. He was held out of the game until the CDC test results come back.
Dec. 13 at Columbus
Crosby’s CDC test results came back positive for mumps.
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