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Penguins say captain Crosby's diagnosis is promising

If Sidney Crosby did sustain a neck injury, maybe this latest diagnosis will be the key to his recovery, Penguins teammates said Monday.

"It's great to know, when something is wrong, to know what's going on," defenseman Kris Letang said. "Now he can really focus on getting back and treat whatever is wrong."

Crosby skated yesterday at Consol Energy Center, two days after the team confirmed that a Los Angeles-based spine specialist diagnosed Crosby as having "suffered a neck injury in addition to a concussion."

The injury was "fully healed," the team said.

"If that is the case, then hopefully it maybe puts some of this stuff behind him," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "Maybe it was a mental hurdle, just not knowing. It's just good to see him back."

An unnamed independent physician will review Dr. Robert S. Bray's findings, but those results are not yet available, coach Dan Bylsma said. Bylsma was hopeful for a definitive diagnosis, and said the uncertainty surrounding Crosby's injury has been difficult for everybody.

"I think all along you'd like to have a definitive answer about what Sidney has, so that you know the road (to recovery)," Bylsma said. "I think that's the most difficult thing about it, starting last year with a concussion and going forward: You don't have a definite answer."

The team returned from the all-star break Monday with an afternoon practice but Crosby did not participate, having skated earlier with injured teammates Jordan Staal and Simon Despres.

Crosby hasn't played since Dec. 5.

"If there was some type of exact road he could go down, that would be a positive thing for Sidney and getting him back to full health," Bylsma said. "I don't know if that's the case, but it would be a good thing."

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