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J.R. Smith definitely doesn't have mumps, but what if he has mumps though

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Man, at times like these, when it hurts to watch the Knicks play basketball, the absurdity of the stories around them sustains me. This is Marc Berman today:

J.R. Smith, who missed the Knicks' 98-93 loss to the Nets on Tuesday with "flu-like symptoms,'' is being kept away from the club. At least it doesn't appear to be mumps.

The Knicks' medical staff is on high alert after the Rangers' Tanner Glass was diagnosed with the mumps a few days ago. Dr. Lisa Callahan coordinates the medical staffs for both the Knicks and Rangers, who share the Tarrytown practice facility.

The Knicks are considering giving their players mumps booster shots on a case-by-case basis, looking to take all precautions. The Knicks have all but ruled out mumps for Smith.

Some background, in case you are baffled: Yes, mumps is an old-timey disease people in developed countries mostly don't get anymore because we've got vaccines. And yet, over the last few weeks, mumps has been going around the NHL, with cases reported on the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, and most recently the Rangers.

So when J.R. Smith showed up over the weekend suffering from flu-like symptoms, then had to stop playing early in the game against the Heat, then felt even worse before Tuesday's game against the Nets, the Knicks probably got a bit worried. And they'll surely take some of the same precautions the Rangers did, because a locker room beset by the pall of losing doesn't *also* want to be ridden with some Oregon-Trail-ass virus for the foreseeable future.

And yeah, that's how we end up with the above Berman article, which also includes Derek Fisher calling Andrea Bargnani "a big piece" and Amar'e Stoudemire insisting he's not a tennis player. This is where we are.