In an interesting development in the Sidney Crosby injury saga, agent Pat Brisson has released a statement confirming that the Pittsburgh Penguins all-star has more than post-concussion syndrome — he has a neck injury.
Crosby has been sidelined since December 5th — but truly hasn’t played much since last season — with reoccurring and perplexing symptoms after a couple of violent hits knocked him out of the lineup in the 2011 Winter Classic and in a matchup with Tampa Bay. Following the attempt to return to NHL action, team doctors immediately deemed him unavailable for further ice time.
Despite the existing conditions, Crosby picked up two goals, 10 assists and was +7 in only eight appearances in late-November/early-December. Due to the number of missed games, he will miss the 100 point total for only the third time in seven professional seasons.
However, the surfacing of new information on the injury may provide solid ground for locating a solution. According to Brisson and the Penguins (reported by ESPN), Crosby’s neck problems aren’t serious and will be examined properly in the coming days.
“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,” the release read. “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.”
Pittsburgh has made it very clear that they will not clear Crosby for in-game action until he is 100 percent healthy. But, they also do believe that he is on schedule to return to the Penguins bench before the end of this campaign.
In the meantime, Pittsburgh’s training staff will monitor Crosby as he continues skating and working out regularly, as he has done for the past week.
The Penguins rest in 5th in the Eastern Conference playoff standings at the all-star break, but certainly could benefit from another offensive option. They are currently led by the impressive combination of the NHL’s leading scorer Evgeni Malkin (58 points) and veteran left-winger James Neal (47 points). Overall, 15 players have reached double digits in points tallied for the Pens.