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Crosby suffering from soft tissue injury in neck

NHL.com @NHL

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is suffering from a soft tissue injury in his neck that could lead to neurological problems.

Crosby and Penguins owner Mario Lemieux met with spinal trauma expert Dr. Alexander Vaccaro in Philadelphia on Monday to review a series of recent tests on the 2009 NHL MVP.

Vaccaro determined an MRI and CAT scan revealed no evidence of a fracture in Crosby's neck, instead confirming a California doctor's diagnosis that Crosby is dealing with a separate neck problem.

Dr. Robert S. Bray examined Crosby in Los Angeles last week and treated him with an injection to alleviate swelling in the neck. Bray will oversee Crosby's progression with therapists.

The 24-year-old hasn't played since concussion-like symptoms resurfaced following a game against Boston on Dec. 5. Doctors say the neck injury can cause symptoms similar to a concussion.

The team called the injury "treatable," adding Crosby will return when he's symptom-free. Crosby skated with fellow injured teammates Jordan Staal and Simon Despres on Tuesday morning.

Coach Dan Bylsma said Monday that Crosby is nowhere close to being cleared for contact.

Crosby missed more than 10 months after taking head shots in consecutive games last January. He had two goals in his return against the New York Islanders on Nov. 21 and collected 12 points in eight games before the concussion-like symptoms returned. He visited with chiropractic neurologist Dr. Ted Carrick two weeks ago in Atlanta before visiting Bray.

Reports surfaced on Saturday night that Crosby had sustained a fractured neck at some point. His agent, Pat Brisson, brushed aside the speculation and insisted Crosby had not suffered a setback.

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