Penguins issue statment, say Crosby’s neck injury is “fully healed”

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have issued a statement in the wake of today’s report that captain Sidney Crosby has two injured vertebrae in his neck.

From the Penguins official website:

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.

The most important goal all along has been Sidney’s return to full health, and we are encouraged that progress continues to be made.

The Penguins also stated that Bray’s findings would be evaluated by independent specialists. General manager Ray Shero didn’t offer a follow-up statement to the one posted above, but did say earlier in the day Crosby had returned from California and was “optimistic” No. 87 will play again this season.

As for Bray — he’s a renowned neurological spine specialist and the founder of the DISC Sports and Spine center, the official sports and spine center of the L.A. Kings. His personal website includes testimonials from 2008 U.S. Olympic team members Sarah Haskins (triathlon) and Melanie Roach (weightlifting) — he also worked with the American contingent that went to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games.

Crosby hasn’t played since loss to Boston on Dec. 5, after which he began experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He’s been cleared for light exercise and has resumed some of his on-ice workouts.