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Hospitalised Ian Thorpe "unlucky", says manager


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Ian Thorpe’s manager says the swimming great was unlucky to have contracted a serious infection that’s laid him up in hospital.

James Erskine also brushed off concerns Thorpe could lose the use of his left arm as “nonsense”.

“That’s just people making that up, I mean that’s just nonsense,” Erskine, told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

Thorpe is receiving treatment in a Sydney hospital for the infection contracted after undergoing a series of surgeries on his shoulder at a hospital near his home in the Swiss town of Ronco Sopra Ascona.

“He’s under very good supervision and he’s battling and he’s unlucky,” Erskine said.

“As they say `shit happens’, he’s unlucky and how long it’s going to take to clear up, I don’t know.

“He’s battling it out in hospital … he’s a sick boy.”

He later told the Seven Network that while Thorpe was “pretty poorly”, reports of his condition were exaggerated.

“He’s not in the intensive care, he’s not left Australia since he went into rehab,” he said.

“He’s just battling away.

“He’s spent weeks in hospital so it’s, from that point of view, it’s a bit grim.”

Erskine said it wasn’t a “staph bug” that infected Thorpe’s shoulder.

“He’s got a couple of bugs that he caught in hospital on the second operation.

“He’s got sort of tubes in him and on antibiotic drips and draining the infection, so he’s not going to run out and meet Prince William tomorrow.”

Thorpe is a friend of Prince William and was a guest at the royal wedding in 2011.

Thorpe’s father revealed in February the Olympian was battling depression.

He sought help early this year after being found disoriented near his parents’ Sydney home after taking a combination of antidepressants and medication for a shoulder injury.

Thorpe was sent for a medical assessment at Bankstown Hospital and then entered a rehabilitation program.

The swimmer made an ill-fated attempt to compete at the 2012 London Olympics.

2GB radio personality Alan Jones, a good friend of Thorpe’s, said: “There may well be restricted movement – minor in a sense in the left shoulder.”

And as far as swimming competitively again, “well, that was never on anyway, so his swimming days are over,” he said on Wednesday.

“Ian’s getting himself better.”

Former teammate Matt Welsh said Thorpe was unlucky to have caught a super bug.

“It’s pretty unlucky, every surgery has its risks.

“He’s pretty strong physically and very strong mentally – I’m sure he’ll be able to bounce back.”

Welsh said the “toughest pill to swallow” for Thorpe would be that it was unlikely he would swim competitively again.

“I’m not sure what his long-term plans were but you definitely want to keep your options open,” Walsh told the Seven Network.

“Ian’s been very unlucky with all his attempts to get back in the pool.”

He added Thorpe would always be one of Australia’s greatest Olympians.

“It was always great watching the panther, as we called him, swim.

“Hopefully he’s having a good rest at the moment.”

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