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

Jan 30, 2012, 12:59 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby, David Backes AP

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:



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?

  1. velocirapist - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Oh no they’re might be a slight amount of tension between a player and his team! They’re going to Trade Crosby to the Leafs for Grabovski and an autographed picture of Nazem Kadri! Or maybe to Vancouver for Keith Ballard and a bag of pucks!

    Gimme a break. The guy’s not going anywhere. Are you guys just trolling the TSN comments for content these days?

  2. cableguymike - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Two things:

    1. A healed bone will show calcification which is probably how they were able to tell the bone had been fractured and had healed. No mystery there.

    2. If he broke his neck he’d be dead. It’s a fractured vertebrae. Get it right, Dejan.

    That is all.

    • hibackhand - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      My guess is you don’t sell copies of the Tribune-Review with “Fractured Vertebrae”

      • cableguymike - Jan 30, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        Challenge accepted!

  3. solador78 - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Dr. Mark Recchi recommends that Crosby should get out to the movies more often.

    Maybe he could take Tim Thomas to Red Tails.

    • habsman - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Props solador,

      Got a good roar on that one.

  4. richardparksdong - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    how are rainbows made? how exactly does the sun set? how exactly does the positrack rear end on a plymouth work?

  5. davebabychreturns - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Obviously the scope and scale are completely different, but the Crosby concussion saga is starting to remind me of the scenario played out when Cody Hodgson injured his back a couple years ago.

    Player suffers a serious injury and travels a long road back to play, consulting third party medical advice along the way. Their return is brief and disappointing (in some respects) and during a second rehabilitation another, apparently already-healed injury is discovered.

    Questions are asked about the competence of the team and their medical staff, speculation about a rift between the team and the player ensues, etc etc.

    Hopefully this situation plays out similarly – Crosby is able to make a full recovery, get back into the lineup and erase all question marks about the long term impact of this injury.

    • cableguymike - Jan 30, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      This is why I don’t ever trust my GP

  6. orpikseyes - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    the doctors were too distracted by his beautiful hawg. it’s a gift and a curse. i dont blame them.

  7. broadstbully33 - Jan 30, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    The dr. was too distracted with his crying to notice….

    • letangshair - Jan 30, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      he was probably distracted by prongers whining to get off the ice. heard it all the way in pitt.

  8. aosplayo - Jan 30, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    They knew it was a spine issue all along. Tyler Kennedy was talking about this months ago.

  9. pittsburghpoonslayer - Jan 30, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    is so great thay filthadelphians have pronger out with. concussion too. but by no means is he in jesus christ I mean soup can sids league

  10. sjsharksfan11 - Jan 30, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Who cares! The little punk is a bitch.

  11. fthepens - Jan 30, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    F**K Cindy. I am surprised that the NHL didn’t put the season on hold until Betmans little bitch got back on the ice. Get ready all you Cindy lovers, the highlights are almost here for you to whack your meat, because She can do no wrong. Watch all the cheap shot artists come back out, to protect that little bitch.

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