Pittsburgh columnist asks how Penguins missed Crosby’s “broken neck”

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The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejan Kovacevic — who has been at the forefront of the Sidney Crosby situation lately (see here) — has written a column asking some serious questions of the Penguins medical team.

Entitled “How do you miss a broken neck?,” Kovacevic wonders how Pittsburgh doctors failed to find Crosby’s fractured C1 and C2 vertebrae, especially after No. 87 complained of neck soreness after being hit by David Steckel at the 2011 Winter Classic.

More, from the Tribune-Review:

I’ve still got a couple of small questions based entirely on the two events just cited:

1. A BROKEN NECK?

Really?

Fractures do get missed, even in the high-stakes world of sports medicine. Last summer, for example, the Pirates took embarrassingly too long to diagnose first baseman Derrek Lee and outfielder Jose Tabata with hairline fractures of the wrist.

But after the athlete complains on a global stage about “neck soreness?”

If [Dr. Robert] Bray’s findings are correct, the various people assembled by the Penguins and Crosby to treat his ailment have some serious explaining to do.

2. Fully healed?

The Penguins’ statement specifies that Bray deemed the vertebrae “fully healed,” which means he either peered back into Crosby’s past to determine they once were cracked, or the BROKEN NECK was found in the same week that it mystically healed itself in the California sunshine.

It’s understandable that the Penguins want other specialists to confirm a retroactive diagnosis.

But it’s telling, yet again, that the team and Crosby clearly still aren’t in sync on the issue of his health.

This misdiagnosis is reminiscent to that of a former Pennsylvania-based NHL star — Philadelphia’s Eric Lindros.

In 1999, Lindros suffered a collapsed lung in Nashville, which the Flyers’ team doctor misdiagnosed as a rib injury. The team wanted Lindros to board a flight back to Philly that night but, at the recommendation of teammate Keith Jones, Lindros went to the hospital, where doctors found the lung had collapsed.

The ramifications of the misdiagnosis were severe. Lindros harbored animosity towards the Flyers and the medical staff (it was believed had he boarded the flight, he would’ve died.) It was also the first step towards what became a very poisonous relationship between Lindros and the organization.

Take that into account with Crosby, then add this wrinkle — No. 87 has one year left on his deal with the Penguins.

Does this incident affect his decision to stay with the team?