Specialist says Sidney Crosby has treatable soft-tissue injury to his neck

Sidney Crosby says he has no issue with the Pittsburgh Penguins over his medical treatment and news of a soft-tissue neck injury gives him cause for encouragement.

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby says he has no issue with the Pittsburgh Penguins over his medical treatment and news of a soft-tissue neck injury gives him cause for encouragement.

“I think the biggest thing to take from it is that it’s something I can work on. I can come in and get my neck worked on,” the Penguins star told a news conference at the Consol Energy Center.

“There’s a pretty big possibility that could be causing some of the issues, so I really hope that’s the case and hope with some treatment that it’ll improve and that’s hopefully the end of it.”

Crosby is back skating and says he has felt improvement but is not where he wants to be.

“It’s encouraging to be skating,” he said. “I’m just happy at this point with doing that.”

Crosby’s comments capped three days of developments — and complications — surrounding his health.

On Saturday, the Penguins confirmed that a specialist had diagnosed their captain with a neck injury in addition to his concussion-related problems. This came amidst reports that Crosby had a fracture to his C1 and C2 vertebrae — with Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson saying it was too soon to draw a conclusion on that.

Still, it led to speculation that the Crosby camp was unhappy with the star’s medical care in his return from concussion-related problems, something the Penguins sought to dispel Monday.

Crosby added his voice to that Tuesday.

“I think the team’s been very encouraging,” he said. “There’s not a lot of answers with this stuff.”

GM Ray Shero told the news conference that Crosby had been receiving treatment for his neck and that the club had encouraged him to seek expert opinions.

Earlier Tuesday, the Pens issued a statement detailing the medical timeline.

The Pens says Brisson, along with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and CEO David Morehouse went Monday morning to Philadelphia to have Dr. Alexander Vaccaro review the CT scan and MRI taken by Dr. Robert S. Bray last week in Los Angeles.

Bray had diagnosed a neck injury but wanted someone else to review the results, the club said.

Vaccaro is a spinal trauma expert at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and past president of the American Spinal Injury Association.

His opinion was that Crosby was suffering from a soft-tissue injury of the neck that could be causing neurological symptoms.

“Bray has treated Crosby with an injection to alleviate swelling in the C1-2 joint of the neck and will be overseeing his progression with therapists,” the NHL team said in a statement. “Doctors say the symptoms of a soft-tissue neck injury are similar to concussion symptoms.

“Vaccaro, Bray and UPMC doctors all agree that Crosby is safe, the injury is treatable, and he will return to action when he is symptom-free.”

Crosby said he hoped the injection was a “one-time thing.”

While Crosby’s condition turned out to be a big topic at the weekend all-star break, the native of Cole Harbour, N.S., said he spent his break in doctors’ offices.

Asked about timing of the concussion and neck injury, Crosby said “I’m not a doctor.”

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