I have openly questioned the validity of his situation, and I have been unimpressed with the "details" that have emerged. This doesn't accord with my outspoken support for taking concussions very seriously, but I'm just not making heads or tails of this situation.
The occurrence of the injury itself can't be pinpointed, but we know that he was taken out of the December 18 game against the Leafs and never returned during the 2007-08 season. Had he been injured previously and some mild collision put him over the edge? Perhaps. That's the consensus. His refusal to go to team meetings and exit interviews has been well documented. His decision to clean out his own locker has been well documented. What has not been documented has been his medical status. The only details we have been afforded have been shady at best. Usually, injury status updates are more frequent and more detailed, but we went months without hearing a single word. Even now, we get some very unspecific news that Tanabe is "unfit to play".
Unfortunately, we haven't been given any details. When someone has an issue with their foot, we usually get lots of details, such as with Ryan Whitney:
Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Ryan Whitney will be out three to five months following surgery to correct a chronic problem with his left foot... Dr. Robert Anderson operated Friday in Charlotte, N.C. The newspaper described the surgery as an osteotomy, defined as a procedure to shorten, lengthen or realign a bone or bones.(via Canadian Press)
When Matt Cullen was out with a concussion, we were given nearly daily updates with specific details about what kinds of specialists he was seeing and what his specific problems were. Take this one for example, from the N&O on Feb 2:
In addition to Mike Peters, the team's eye doctor, Cullen is also working with concussion expert Kevin Guskiewicz at the University of North Carolina and Cary neuro-optometrist Susan Durham.
So why now do we get the vaguest of details? All we know is that Tanabe went to an anonymous doctor at an anonymous clinic in Buffalo who gave the very broad prognosis: "not a clean bill of health".
Anyway, Jim Rutherford has announced that he expects for Tanabe to report to camp and be monitored by official team doctors. This might help shed some light on things. I know concussions are hard things to work with because of the complexity of symptoms and the fact that they aren't as easy to diagnose and monitor as, say, a broken bone. Still, it's very frustrating to not know anything about the status.