I thought this looked deep and artistic

Amidst plenty of reports that Sidney Crosby was nearing a return, it looks as though there may be an underlying issue all along that Pittsburgh doctors have somehow missed – namely, that Crosby likely sustained two fractured vertebrae (the C1 & C2) on top of his latest concussion. This comes from reports by Elliote Friedman of CBC who spoke with Sid’s agent, Pat Brisson.

Now, it should be noted that despite the apparent severity of such an injury, a fractured vertebrae isn’t the end of the world. Recovery can generally be sorted out in the span of a few weeks depending on how the individual takes to the treatment put in place. Moreover, given that Crosby’s examination hasn’t fully been completed we can’t know the extent or speculate on how long it will take him to overcome this complication. Even with this development, the Penguins still seem confident he will make a return this season.

Here’s Ray Shero on Crosby’s progress:



For those of you who have no idea where the C1 & C2 vertebrae are, you’re not alone. Some quick medical recon indicates that they are the top two vertebrae in the neck. I have no idea how this impacts someone in terms of pain, function, long term side effects or recovery time and we’ll have to wait and see what the official word is from Crosby/the Penguins.

I know there is a reflex to think, “HOW DID THEY NOT CATCH IT BEFORE?” which hits all of us non-medical folk, but quite frankly I’m willing to spot them the benefit of the doubt. NHL medical staffs are, with very little exception, among the top medical minds on the continent. There’s clearly other things at play here which would have prevented this from being seen earlier.

As far as Crosby goes, we can only hope he gets back to full strength and plays again soon. I’m very, very opposed to rushing him back to play which is a temptation for this team because of his immense talent and their championship aspirations. If I’m the Penguins I shut him down for the season right now – take him off the table altogether – and get him ready for the home opener next season. I thought they ought to handle it that way after the Krejci hit and this development certainly hasn’t deterred that for me. It’s better he misses the rest of the season and playoffs now than have seasons shaved off of his career down the road. We’ve done the Eric Lindros thing before, and it was no fun to watch the first time.

UPDATE W/ OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE PENGUINS:

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. 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.

Comments (2)

  1. If he had a fractured c1 and c2 , he’d be dead.

    • Forgive me if I trust the doctors over you. You can also break vertebrae without displacing them (like what happened to Pacioretty when he broke his c4).

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