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Crosby's concussion 'not ordinary'

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Saturday, April 30, 2011
 

A noted neurosurgeon said the recent recurrence of post-concussion symptoms that stopped Penguins star Sidney Crosby from returning for the Stanley Cup playoffs is "not ordinary."

Crosby, 23, revealed his setback on Friday and said there is no time frame for his return to hockey. He missed the final 41 regular-season games and all seven games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Tampa Bay Lightning after suffering a concussion on Jan. 5.

"Everybody is different, but he is going on being out a long time," said Dr. Julian Bailes, a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. "I don't know if it puts you back at square one, but it's probably a case of prolonged post-concussion syndrome. To me, it means this concussion is not ordinary. It's not running its usual course."

Most concussions, Bailes said, cause an athlete to miss two weeks while post-concussion syndrome can last six to eight weeks. Prolonged concussions, he said, can last for months.

Crosby resumed skating in mid-March and participated in 10 non-contact practices but never was cleared for contact.

"My expectation probably wasn't that I'd play, but I was just trying to make sure that if there was any chance, if it was possible to come back that I was ready," Crosby said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out."

Crosby's lead when he was injured in goals (32) and points (66), which put him on pace for career highs in both categories, made his case reminiscent of Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.

A four-time All-Star and 2006 MVP, Morneau was batting .345 and led the major leagues in on-base and slugging percentage in July when he suffered a concussion while sliding into second base. He missed the rest of the season and playoffs. He is batting .232 with no home runs in 19 games this season.

Penguins General Manager Ray Shero said Crosby had made "significant progress" but warned that the Penguins captain was not going to come back "until he was 100 percent."

Dr. Micky Collins, assistant director of the Sports Medicine concussion program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, expects Crosby to make a full recovery, Shero said.

"The great news is that he's got all kinds of time on his side right now," Shero said. "Now he can go back to healing and feeling good about himself."

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