The news that sidelined Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby may have played with two damaged vertebrae in his neck caused a major stir during the NHL all-star weekend

The news that sidelined Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby may have played with two damaged vertebrae in his neck caused a major stir during the NHL all-star weekend

Crosby is not unhappy with Penguins’ medical staff

The news that sidelined Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby may have played with two damaged vertebrae in his neck caused a major stir during the NHL all-star weekend, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma insisted his captain is not unhappy with the team’s medical staff.

PITTSBURGH — The news that sidelined Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby may have played with two damaged vertebrae in his neck caused a major stir during the NHL all-star weekend, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma insisted his captain is not unhappy with the team’s medical staff.

Crosby pushed himself during a contact-free but demanding 45-minute workout Monday, only days after learning he had a potentially serious neck injury in addition to a concussion.

“I feel, Sidney feels, he’s gotten every possible support from the Penguins and the Penguins’ medical staff in the situation he’s in, to try to find an answer to where he’s at, what his condition is, what is his best road for recovery,” Bylsma said.

“He’s gotten every available support from both the Penguins and from our medical staff and going other places and getting medical treatment. That’s how we feel about it and I know Sidney feels the same way.”

Teammates said Crosby’s extensive workout with two other injured teammates was easily his best since he last played on Dec. 5 — he has practised only once since then — and offered hope that the NHL’s biggest star might return this season.

If only they knew when.

An unidentified third-party physician is currently reviewing Crosby’s case and, until his findings are revealed, the Penguins do not know much longer their superstar will be further sidelined. He has played only eight games since Jan. 5, 2011.

“Physically he’s looked a lot better the last couple of weeks,” defenceman Brooks Orpik said. “He looks a lot more upbeat. And if that’s the case, maybe he can put some of this stuff behind him and move forward without any precaution, I guess.”

Despite Crosby’s two extended layoffs since he was first sidelined with a concussion nearly 13 months ago, Bylsma said there hasn’t been any guessing about Crosby’s condition.

Still, numerous Penguins fans were alarmed and upset that Crosby sustained the neck injury at some point in addition to at least one concussion and possibly another, and they questioned why it took so long for it to be discovered. The Penguins themselves did not know of the neck injury until it was diagnosed last week by Dr. Robert S. Bray, a California-based neurological spine specialist.

Bray told Crosby that the neck injury has healed, and the Penguins almost certainly would not have allowed Crosby to work out Monday with injured teammates Jordan Staal and Simon Despres if it hadn’t.

Crosby did not speak to reporters after he skated hard, fast and for extended stretches and took part in shooting and conditioning drills before a full-team practice at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby worked, according to Bylsma, “at a pretty good clip.”

Bylsma acknowledged that, for as good as he looked Monday, Crosby is “nowhere close” to being cleared for contact.

Crosby is known to have consulted this season with at least three outside medical specialists, in Florida, Utah and California, in addition to the Penguins’ doctors and his own concussion specialists in Pittsburgh.

While Crosby has been skating on his on for several weeks, Monday marked the first time he has taken the ice with teammates since he worked out with the Penguins during a two-game Florida road trip in mid-January.

Pittsburgh hosts Toronto on Tuesday, and it will be the 22nd game Crosby has missed during his latest concussion-related layoff. He also missed the Penguins’ final 41 games last season and their first 20 this season.

“Everybody in this room loves Sid and he just deserves our support,” defenceman Kris Letang said. “It’s great to know when something is wrong what is going on and maybe now he can really focus on getting back and treated (for) whatever is wrong.”

Still, neither Bylsma, general manager Ray Shero nor the Penguins know exactly when Crosby’s latest comeback will occur. It’s the same exasperating wait-and-see situation the Penguins have found themselves in for all but two weeks over the last one-plus years.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)
Kenney declares state of public health emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

High schools shift to online learning, businesses face new restrictions

Lynne McConnell, a Red Deer single mom who runs a delivery company, is left without a car for her business after her vehicle was stolen twice in about 48 hours. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Highway 11, from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House, is about to be twinned in a $120-million project announced Friday. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Town of Sylvan Lake likes Highway 11 twinning plans

Province plans to twin Highway 11 to Rocky Mountain House

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) brings the ball up court against Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the first half of NBA basketball action in Toronto on January 28, 2020. The Raptors officially annoucned that VanVleet has agreed to a multi-year contract with the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says contract negotiations were “easy”

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says contract negotiations were “easy”

FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch waves to the crowd before an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers in Cincinnati on March 17, 2019. Canadian Premier League team FC Edmonton has hired Koch as head coach and director of football operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, John Minchillo
FC Edmonton names Alan Koch coach of Canadian Premier League club

FC Edmonton names Alan Koch coach of Canadian Premier League club

Time running short for NHL to start next season Jan. 1

Time running short for NHL to start next season Jan. 1

Former Chicago Blackhawk Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous pro hockey players, is honoured at the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks game in Edmonton on December 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at age 86 after presumed COVID-19 case

Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at age 86 after presumed COVID-19 case

Thanksgiving lessons jettison Pilgrim hats, welcome truth

Thanksgiving lessons jettison Pilgrim hats, welcome truth

Most Read