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Crosby's mumps diagnosis raises more questions about Penguins medical practices

Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with the mumps. The way the team's staff handled him raises some troubling questions.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Crosby has the mumps.

It was obvious to a lot of people that something was drastically wrong after seeing his face swollen up on Friday- after participating in practice with the team, but the Pittsburgh Penguins stuck to their guns that the tests had not confirmed it. Finally, today, they announced Crosby is in fact mumped up, which will lead to questions about how team Dr. Dharmesh Vyas and training staff led by Chris Stewart handled the situation.

"It came about as a bit of a surprise to us," Vyas said Sunday afternoon. "Every indication was that he was well protected against the disease."

That much, the Pens get the benefit of the doubt on. Crosby received a mumps vaccination last year ahead of the Olympics. He was also tested a couple of weeks ago with all the other Pens players when they attempted to be proactive and issue more treatment to protect themselves. That vaccine doesn't seem too effective- being as fellow Olympians Ryan Suter and Corey Perry also contracted cases of mumps in recent months.

But, somehow, despite all the testing and treatment Crosby contracted the disease. Here's some of the biggest questions and most concerning quotes that came out today.

Early warning sign ignored

Friday morning the staff apparently wasn't that concerned and allowed Crosby to practice with the team. "It was a rapidly evolving process," Vyas said. Which is tough to dispute, However Crosby didn't even come to the arena at all on Thursday, missing practice  with what coach Mike Johnston called a "sickness". If Vyas is trying to say that the "process" of Crosby's illness wasn't far along before then, he would be incorrect.

Carolina game 'throat injury' misdirection

The Penguins are pushing this story, despite even admitting that it is unrelated.

Crosby suffered an injury to his salivary gland Nov. 28 against Carolina. He was given medication for the swelling (Dr. Vyas does not believe the injury and the mumps diagnosis are related). When the medication was stopped, the right side of his face swelled up. Crosby was held out of practice Thursday and tested again for mumps. Those test results came back negative.

The Trib's Josh Yohe also explained, this is not the cause:

Vyas said he doesn't believe that Crosby's injury in Carolina is related to his mumps diagnosis. However, Rutherford acknowledged that there was tentatively a belief that Crosby did not have the mumps because of the Carolina incident two weeks earlier and because of the original test he had passed.
So they should probably drop the whole Carolina throat injury thing. It misleads to the point- Crosby didn't get mumps from the Carolina game by someone squeezing his jaw and hurting a gland. So why do they keep mentioning it in the timeline? Just to point out that he was on anti-swelling medication that could have masked other symptoms? Doesn't seem that great and really just hurts their cause.

They seemingly almost let him play Friday night

A quote by general manager Jim Rutherford is possibly the most troubling one of the day (with our emphasis added).

"Quite frankly that decision [to practice Friday] was approved [by the medical staff] ," Rutherford said. "His condition worsened after the skate. That's when I got the call from Dr. Vyas. I think it was at 5 in the afternoon. He said he could play in the game, but there certainly would be risk. That's when we said we weren't going to do that."

Two hours before the game on Friday, the Penguins doctor said Crosby "could" play.

I'm going to have to repeat that last line, because it's really unbelievable. Just a couple of hours before the game, when Crosby had missed practice the day before, with his face swollen up and the NHL in a mumps epidemic, the Pittsburgh Penguins team doctor said Crosby "could" play in the game, even though know one knew exactly what was wrong with him.

They made the right call, so credit there, and seemed to do everything possible to test and escalate the tests up to the CDC level to find out what it was, but the way they got there is going to be questioned by Crosby's involvement in Friday's practice.