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Swine flu hits Dolphins [with update on Smith]

As you can read here, The Miami Herald's Jeff Darlington is reporting at least two players are suspected of testing positive for swine flu and will not be allowed to attend tonight's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

The Dolphins are confirming two players are sick. The teams says the players have undergone tests. Results of the tests are not back but team personnel have already told players two are believed to have the flu, according to a source. 

When the team does get the results, it will not release the personal health information publicly.

The two players expected to miss the game with an illness are cornerbacks Jason Allen and Sean Smith.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, are saying they have been aggressive in trying to keep swine flu from breaking out in the locker room.

"Upon reporting to taining camp all members of the team and staff were educated regarding the presence of swine flu [in the community] and the steps available to reduce it's spread," said Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene upon receiving a memo from the team's medical staff. "Disinfectant wipes were placed in all team meetings rooms. Signs to remind players to wash their hands frequently were placed in all bathroom facilities, and the Miaimi Dolphins medical staff in conjunction with the league enacted a plan to asses and treat the illness."

An NFL spokesman has not answered an e-mail requesting comment. But the story says players were told of the positive test.

Although Smith is suspected of being one of the players tested for the flu, and he is not expected to play tonight, a source tells Darlington it has nothing to do with swine flu. He's just got some other sickness, the source says.

Sounds dubious.

The fact Smith is missing this game and could miss practice time next week is not good news even if he doesn't have swine flu. He needs the work. He needs to continue to get better as the regular-season opener draws closer.

I would expect Vontae Davis would start for Smith but that is a guess. I would doubt the team would start Nathan Jones or Joey Thomas.

So here are the questions:

Is it safe to attend the game? Have you been among the throngs of fans that after each open practice interact with the Dolphins while they sign autographs, shake hands and generally show appreciation for the fan support?

Is it possible the time has come for ending those sessions given the possibility the players not only might have spread the flu to those fans, but also might have contracted the flu from one of those fans?