Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mets SS Reyes Wary of Marty Feldman's Disease?

This sounds like a joke, but unfortunately, it's not very funny: Mets shortstop Jose Reyes may not only miss part or all of the 2010 season due to an overactive thyroid, he's even at risk of losing his career and worse yet, might actually end up looking like the late, walleyed comedian Marty Feldman.

Yes, really. Feldman -- whose million-dollar, cockeyed glare reminds one of a pair marbles rolling around in a tin can -- was born with normal eyes, but as an adult acquired his familiar, crazed countenance due to the onset of Graves' Disease, an advanced manifestation of thyroid disorder.

If unarrested, and the nature of the "overactive thyroid" is due to Graves' disease or another form of hyperthyroidism, the condition ultimately could cause Reyes' eyeballs to bug out like a bullfrog due to an infiltrative process to the retro-orbital soft tissue structures. With any luck, however, modern medicine should easily enable Reyes to avoid this, but the possibility remains unclear as long a details continue to remain masked in what New York Times columnist Bill Rhoden has called a "great spring mystery."

Perhaps mindful that doom-and-gloom perceptions have a direct impact not only on the turnstile but on advertising, marketing and finance, the Mets give the appearance of carefully managing the news about Reyes.

While the Marty Feldman alternative ending is remote, a number of questions remain unanswered. For instance, why is the team calling for Reyes to rest? Does that mean no baseball activities or confinement to a sick-bed?

When two weeks would be more than enough time to determine whether blood tests have produced a false positive, why is the team allowing for still another month of inactivity if doctors are not anticipating the possibility of removing or destroying his thyroid gland to bring his body chemistry back into sync?

If doctors determine that Reyes's condition cannot be treated with medicine, why hasn't it been acknowledged that thyroid stabilization through radiation or surgery may require months, or even a year or more, before his metabolism returns to normal?

Perhaps most problematic of all, whether two weeks, six or a year, will the layoff cause Reyes a significant setback in his effort to rehabilitate his damaged hamstring? Add to it, he is clearly going to suffer from deconditioning.

It remains to be seen how this "great spring mystery" will conclude.

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