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Team Effort on Crosby's Recovery

Tuesday, 01.31.2012 / 8:52 PM / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Team Effort on Crosby\'s Recovery
The conclusion that Penguins captain Sidney Crosby suffered a soft-tissue injury to his neck and did not have a past or present neck fracture was reached through consultations between team doctors and independent specialists.

During Crosby’s treatment process, the Pens organization, Crosby, team doctors and outside specialists have all been in communication.

“We’re all in this together,” said Pens general manager Ray Shero at a Tuesday media conference alongside Crosby. “One thing we’re trying to find out is what is causing these symptoms, how we can get him back safely to play. As I’ve said many times, he will not return until those symptoms disappear. That’s our next step and that’s the goal for everybody involved here.”

Crosby, 24, originally suffered a concussion in January 2011. He missed 61 games before returning to the lineup Nov. 21 against the NY Islanders. Crosby played eight games with the team, but suffered concussion-like symptoms following Pittsburgh’s Dec. 5 contest against Boston. He has been held out of the last 22 games.

During the last year in a half, various doctors and have treated Crosby and tried to help him in his recovery. The Penguins encourage all of their players, not just Crosby, to seek second and third opinions on any injury. The team even pays for the outside treatment.

“(The Penguins) have been more than encouraging with seeking out other opinions,” Crosby said. “I think anyone going through this just tries to find something to lean on. You make sure you’re given all the information and going from there. The more information you can gather the better, that’s what they’ve encouraged. They’ve been very supportive of that.”

The latest diagnosis of Crosby’s soft-tissue injury is an example of the collaboration between the various elements involved in trying to help the team’s captain return to the ice.

Crosby worked with team doctors, Dr. Michael Collins of UMPC, Dr. Ted Carrick of the Carrick Institute, Dr. Robert S. Bray, founding director and CEO of D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center, and Dr. Alexander Vaccaro of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, CEO David Morehouse and Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, all visited Dr. Vaccaro Monday in Philadelphia. Later that evening, all the doctors and team officials held a conference call.

General manager Ray Shero and Sidney Crosby speak to the media Tuesday night
“We’ve been very fortunate through this entire process since last January having the doctors we’ve been exposed to, both at UPMC and the independent doctors that Sidney has seen,” Shero said. “To have that group together on the phone was beneficial for everybody, to hear everybody out – the radiologists in particular. Once we did that we felt good at the end of the conversation as to where we were. We had other conversations at different points (Tuesday) to make sure we understood each other.

“All the doctors consulted during that conference call, which we were a part of. They went through everything with what they saw and what they came up with was no evidence of a past or present fracture, which was good news.”

The biggest concern from everyone involved all along has been the health and long-term well being of Crosby. The team has been supportive of Crosby, particularly Lemieux. 

“He’s always said, ‘Whatever you need, we’re there for you.’ It’s been encouraging,” Crosby said of his owner. “Like anyone else it’s the support and encouragement to get answers and be back as soon as possible.”

Shero has consistently echoed the same concerns for Crosby’s health.

“(Crosby) wants to play hockey. He has sought out other medical treatment and ours through our support to get back to play the game,” he said. “Through his efforts, hopefully that will happen soon.

“Nothing has changed. We’re going along the path, continue to try to manage these symptoms and get them under control, get a handle on this and get him back on the ice safely and as quickly as possible, but most importantly safely.”



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