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Crosby medical team not on same page

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Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011

Members of Sidney Crosby's medical team seemingly can't agree on when the Penguins captain will be ready for contact drills.

Crosby will participate in noncontact activities during the first training camp practices Saturday at Consol Energy Center, he said Friday shortly after players reported to camp.

At about the same time, Ted Carrick, a Florida-based chiropractor who has been examining Crosby for about a month, told a Pittsburgh radio station, "Sid's as ready (for physical contact) as just about any player in the NHL."

"Now it is more a situation of his physicality and getting back into shape," he said.

Officials at UPMC, where Crosby has been treated at a concussion clinic, declined to address Crosby's status, citing HIPAA laws.

But UPMC officials were "surprised" by Carrick's comments, spokeswoman Susan Manko said. She said Michael Collins, a clinical neuropsychologist who diagnosed Crosby with a concussion Jan. 6, stands behind comments he made at a Sept. 7 news conference with Crosby and Carrick.

"We're going to make sure we introduce contact in a very careful way," Collins said at the time. "And we're not even close to that right now."

The Penguins declined to comment but were not pleased with Carrick's speaking to WDVE-FM, team sources said.

Crosby has not played since Jan. 5 because of a concussion and concussion symptoms.

"Whatever symptoms I've had have been pretty minimal," Crosby said. "To be cleared (for noncontact activity) is good."

Carrick did not return phone messages left by the Tribune-Review.

"Certainly, he's a different person than when we saw him from a few weeks ago," Carrick told the radio station. "He'll be back in the game pretty darn quick â€' quicker than I think other people would have ever thought."

Collins, who heads UPMC's renowned concussion clinic, did not refer Crosby to Carrick, Penguins sources said.

Crosby, with the Penguins' permission, began seeking second opinions this summer, visiting concussion specialists in Michigan and Georgia, in hopes of learning what was causing a recurrence of headaches during workouts.

Crosby had been working out in April before being shut down during the Stanley Cup playoffs because of headaches. He was cleared for noncontact skating but had to alter his workouts in August because, at 90 percent exertion, he again was experiencing headaches.

Penguins head physician Dr. Charles Burke, an orthopaedic surgeon, has the final authority to clear Crosby for contact. Collins has served as the head of Crosby's concussion team based on Burke's recommendation.

Crosby reiterated his stance from 10 days ago that since seeing Carrick he hasn't felt better.

"At this point, I'm just worried about (Saturday's practice) and getting through it," he said.

Crosby will wait until after practice to determine whether he will skate Sunday.

"Practices at the end of the season are probably lighter than what camp's going to be," Crosby said. "I think camp will be a pretty good indication (of where I am). It's going to be pretty intense. Even without contact, it will be a pretty good pace."

Crosby said there is no assurance he will be cleared for contact before the Penguins' season-opener Oct. 6 at Vancouver.

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