Team captain Crosby says there is 'no' rift with Penguins
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Sidney Crosby's neck is not broken, and neither is his relationship with the Penguins or their medical staff.
"There (are) not a lot of answers with this stuff, and (the organization) has been more than encouraging when it came to seeking out other opinions," Crosby said Tuesday during a news conference before the Penguins played the Toronto Maple Leafs at Consol Energy Center.
Crosby is dealing with a soft-tissue injury in the neck and recently received an injection to alleviate swelling between his two uppermost vertebrae.
He has not played since Dec. 5, though he resumed on-ice workouts Jan. 13. There remains no timetable for his return, general manager Ray Shero said.
Shero and Crosby displayed a sense of calm and camaraderie during the 16 minutes they spent addressing a situation that over the weekend appeared distressing at best.
Dr. Alexander Vaccaro, a Philadelphia-based orthopedic surgeon, could not confirm evidence of past or present vertebrae fractures, he informed Penguins majority co-owner Mario Lemieux, CEO David Morehouse and Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, on Monday.
Lemieux, Morehouse and Brisson met in Philadelphia with Vaccaro. Other members of Crosby's concussion team were listening on a conference call, Shero said.
The soft-tissue injury is treatable and could cause neurological symptoms similar to those from a concussion, the medical experts agreed, Shero said.
"It's hard to pinpoint when this could have happened, whether it was an existing injury or whether it happened in one of the eight games he came back," Shero said.
"There has never been any indication from any (medical expert) we've dealt with over the last year that would indicate he would have to shut it down for the season or have to retire."
The soft-tissue injury could be causing neurological symptoms that have plagued Crosby dating to Jan. 6, 2011, when he was diagnosed by UPMC Sports Medicine clinicians with a concussion after he sustained two blindside hits over a span of five days.
Dr. Robert Bray, a California-based spine surgeon who diagnosed Crosby with a neck injury last week, requested an independent review of those findings, Shero said. Bray administered the shot to Crosby, who said it was a one-time-only treatment.
Bray will oversee Crosby's therapy.
Crosby has not been diagnosed with a second concussion, his team of experts said, and he was playfully dismissive about the potential for him to tell the difference between symptoms from the concussion and neck injury.
"I'm not a doctor," Crosby said, flashing a smile. "I'm not going to sit here and answer. I wouldn't really know what I'm talking about."
Cleary, Crosby was aware of rumblings within the hockey world that he is not happy with the Penguins' medical team, which is headed by Dr. Charles Burke, an orthopedic surgeon, and also includes Michael Collins, a clinical psychologist with extensive neurological training and head of the UPMC clinic.
"Anyone going through this just tries to find something to kind of lean on and make sure that you're given all the information and kind of going from there," Crosby said. "But the more information you can gather, the better. That's what they've encouraged and have been very supportive of that."
Shero defiantly supported his medical staff, which faced scrutiny from outside the organization for a presumed missed diagnosis of the neck injury.
"What was being ruled out was anything more than that," Shero said of a specific soft-tissue diagnosis.
A Canadian radio talk show host, citing unnamed sources, said Saturday that Crosby was diagnosed with fractures of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. The Tribune-Review also reported that the Penguins believed that fracture diagnosis might be confirmed by an independent review of Bray's diagnosis.
As the scene Saturday was unfolding in his native Canada, Crosby watched the NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Lemieux's house in Sewickley.
Crosby said he has not talked about his neurological symptoms often with Lemieux, who during his Hall of Fame career with the Penguins overcame back and hip injuries and Hodgkin's disease.
"I think the biggest thing is he's always just said, 'Whatever you need, we're there for you,' " Crosby said. "They (Lemieux and majority co-owner Ron Burkle, a California-based billionaire) have been encouraging for that.
"(Lemieux) can share his thoughts, but the main thing, like everybody else (with the Penguins), is just support and encouragement to hopefully get some answers and hopefully be back as soon as possible."
The known members of Sidney Crosby's concussion team:
Person: Practice, Facility
*Dr. Charles Burke: Orthopedic surgeon, UPMC Sports Medicine
Michael Collins: Clinical psychologist, UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic
Dr. Joseph Maroon: Neurosurgeon, UPMC Department of Neurological Surgery
Dr. Joseph Furman: Otoneurologist, UPMC Center for Hearing and Balance
Ted Carrick: Chiropractor, Life University (Georgia)
Alex Guerrero: Physical therapist, Private practice (Utah)
Dr. Robert Bray Spine: surgeon, Disc Sports and Spine Center (California)
Dr. Alexander Vaccaro: Orthopedic surgeon, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia)
*Penguins team physician can clear players for return-to-play
Sources: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tribune-Review records
Chris Harlan contributed to this story.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- Mortgage deal isn’t likely to cost $17B
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Brentwood man chronicles battle with haunted house
- Pitt sophomore Coles leaves football team
- Westinghouse could provide reactors for Utah nuclear site
- Kiss’ makeup has changed, but their impact remains strong
- LCB’s biggest store opening in Shadyside neighborhood
- Vending business sold after pot-growing operation found in Lawrenceville