Crosby diagnosed with neck injury

| Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012

OTTAWA -- Sidney Crosby is in Pittsburgh, plans to continue on-ice workouts and ideally will learn this week if he has spent almost 13 months recovering from a neck injury in addition to a concussion.

The Penguins released this statement at 7:49 p.m. Saturday:

"The diagnosis of Dr. Robert S. Bray, a neurological spine specialist based in Los Angeles, is that Sidney Crosby had suffered a neck injury in addition to a concussion. Dr. Bray reports that the neck injury is fully healed. Those findings will be evaluated by independent specialists over the next few days. The most important goal all along has been Sidney's return to full health, and we are encouraged that progress continues to be made."

General manager Ray Shero declined interview requests from the Tribune-Review, but Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, caused a stir when he addressed his client's situation after the NHL All-Star Skills Challenge at Scotiabank Place.

"I can't really comment on that," Brisson said regarding Crosby's reported dissatisfaction with the Penguins' medical staff. "I haven't heard it from Sidney."

Brisson told Canadian Broadcast Corp. that Crosby sustained another concussion during the Penguins' loss to the Boston Bruins on Dec. 5 and that Crosby might have two fractured vertebrae.

The Penguins' statement refers to Crosby's original concussion diagnosis from Jan. 6, 2011. The team has consistently stated that Crosby is currently out because of "concussion-like symptoms" and that he passed his most recent ImPACT cognitive baseline test.

Bray is one of several medical experts to treat Crosby since he absorbed two blindside hits over a span of five days last January.

Crosby returned to game action in November but appeared in only eight games before balance issues returned after a noticeably rough game against the Bruins.

Though not diagnosed with a concussion, Crosby has remained out of practices and games but has resumed on-ice workouts.

Within the past two weeks, Crosby visited Atlanta, where he was evaluated again by Ted Carrick, a chiropractor who says he specializes in neurological treatment and who treated Crosby in August.

Crosby also visited Alex Guerrero, a Utah-based physical therapist who also helped New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recover from knee surgery three years ago.

Crosby then traveled to Los Angeles, where he spent the past week continuing his workouts and undergoing evaluation from Bray. Brisson said Crosby underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test and CAT scan while visiting Bray. Those tests showed cracks in his C1 and C2 vertebrae, sources said told the Tribune-Review last night.

All significant Penguins officials, including majority co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, were aware of Bray's diagnosis this week. However, the team planned to confirm Bray's finding with an independent specialist before officially updating Crosby's condition.

"We'll see, hopefully, next week where he is (after) we get the reports from California," Shero said Saturday morning after a Board of Governors meeting. "The thing with Sidney is we want to continue to look to see how we can get this under control and manageable. As I said before he's not going to (play) until those symptoms resolve, but hopefully we'll have him back here at some point soon."

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