Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks answers questions from the media in Dallas… (Larry W. Smith / EPA )
The fever that struck Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki didn't keep him from scoring the game-winning basket in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, though it may have some fans worrying how he'll fare in Game 5. But hey, maybe that weakness could become a key offensive tool.
It might sound far-fetched, but the Mavericks would not be the first to pass on a bad bug to the opposing team. Back in 1998, Duke University's football team, the Blue Devils, lost to the favored Florida State Seminoles -- but not before they infected the Seminoles with a nasty case of the stomach flu, as described by a study published in 2000 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Thirty-six Duke players suffered upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea on game day and 11 Florida State players became ill just hours after winning the game.
Normally, viral gastroenteritis is food-borne or water-borne. But with all the heavy breathing and sweat, it's no stretch to think that sports games can be a dangerous breeding ground for diseases.
Just to be safe, Miami Heat players might want to keep that hand sanitizer, er, handy.