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Crosby suffered neck injury, now fully healed @NHLdotcom

Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby, out since Dec. 5, is suffering from a neck injury and a concussion, according to a statement from the team.

"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."

Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, was at the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition and spoke to the media about Crosby's condition. He said that Bray's diagnosis will be examined by other specialists in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Crosby visited Bray at the suggestion of Brisson, the agent said.

"Dr. Bray is a world-renowned spine specialist/surgeon that I have known for years," Brisson said. "He played hockey himself, understands the game, so I thought it was a good idea to bring Sidney there to have another set of eyes, another opinion."

With that opinion in hand, hope has returned that Crosby can put his lingering symptoms behind him and move toward a return to playing.

"His goal is to play as soon as he's safe and sound and he has no symptoms," Brisson said. "The sooner the better, but I can't put any timelines on it. I don't really have a clue."

Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero also refused to put a timeline on Crosby's return, although he spoke before the latest news was released by Brisson on Saturday night.

Speaking to a small group of reporters after the Board of Governors meeting at the Fairmount Hotel in Ottawa on Saturday morning, Shero said Crosby had returned from Los Angeles and will meet with his team of concussion specialists this week.

"Hopefully we'll see next week where he is. We'll get the reports from California and compare those to what has been done so far," Shero said. "With Sidney, we want to continue to look to see how we can get this under control and manageable and get him to play. Like I said before, he's not going to (play) until the symptoms subside. Hopefully, we'll have him back at some point soon."

Shero was not available for comment Saturday night.

Crosby was in Los Angeles earlier this week to visit Bray and do some on-ice workouts. The trip to Los Angeles followed a similar to trip to Atlanta to visit with Ted Carrick, a chiropractor who specializes in neurological issues. Carrick worked with Crosby in his comeback from the concussion he suffered this past January.

"He skated this week and he was looking good," Brisson said. "This week, probably we will know a little bit more."

Crosby has not played since Pittsburgh's game against Boston on Dec. 5, after which it was reported that he was suffering from concussion-related symptoms, including balance issues. He missed nearly 11 months from last January to November because of a concussion that was caused by a pair of hits in back-to-back games. He was diagnosed on Jan. 6 and immediately shut down.

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