Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has a soft-tissue neck injury, but no sign of a past or present neck fracture, the NHL team said Tuesday.
Doctors told the team that the injury could cause neurological symptoms similar to those of concussion, which could explain why the star is still battling to come back a year after he was first injured.
A statement from the Penguins on Tuesday came after reports at the weekend that the Canadian forward was seeing specialists to deal with a neck problem, with one saying he had two cracked vertebrae.
The team statement said doctors agreed that “Crosby is safe, the injury is treatable, and he will return to action when he is symptom-free.”
Crosby appeared at a press conference with Penguins general manager Ray Shero and voiced hope that the latest diagnosis and appropriate treatment would have him back on the ice.
“There’s a pretty big possibility that could be causing some of the issues,” he said. “I really hope that’s the case and with treatment that it’ll improve.”
Crosby returned to NHL action in November for the first time since suffering a concussion in January last year.
After his 10-month layoff, he played only eight games before he was sidelined again.
His prolonged absence has been a blow for the team and for the league.
Crosby has become the NHL’s signature player, leading the Penguins to the 2009 Stanley Cup, and became a Canadian hero after scoring the golden goal in overtime to win the Winter Olympic crown for Canada in 2010 at Vancouver.