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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Crosby goes soft in the neck

Ladies and gentleman we finally got a meaningful update on Sidney Crosby. If you recall, Crosby had just returned from a 10 month layoff period after a concussion, he was on top of the world; 12 points in 8 games had everyone believing that Sid the Kid was officially back! But on December 5th it all came crashing down for Crosby, during a game against the Boston Bruins he was butt-ended in the face and then later in the game ran into one of his teammates. After the game his concussion "like" symptoms resurfaced and the Penguins put Crosby back on injured reserve. Everyone started freaking out, sports analysts and bloggers alike were all saying Crosby should consider retirement and think about his long term health, stories surged about Crosby possibly having his 3rd concussion in 1 year, some bonehead even said the Penguins were planning on replacing him as the captain. No matter where you looked there was a story about the NHL's most prized player. But during a press conference held yesterday, news broke that Crosby may in fact not be suffering from a concussion or concussion "like" symptoms, but rather a soft-tissue injury in his neck. This sounds very similar to what happened with Tim Connolly when he was out for a year earlier in his career with a "concussion."

The news came a few days after a report that Crosby may have fractured the C1 and C2 vertebrae in his neck. But after being fed up with his slow progress, he flew to Los Angeles to get a second opinion. Multiple doctors ruled out the possibility of a fractured vertebra, but rather a soft-tissue injury that was causing swelling in the top two vertebrae. Crosby learned of the diagnosis after meeting with neck specialist Dr. Robert S. Bray. After looking at the CT scan and MRI, Dr. Bray gave Crosby an injection to help bring down the swelling in his neck. This is good news, or at least Crosby thinks it is; "The biggest thing I can take from this is this is something I can work on. I can come in and get my neck worked on" Crosby said Tuesday night. "From what I've been told, this is something pretty commonly linked with concussion symptoms, and in a way that's encouraging, there's no magic to get rid of it but, if this is contributing, this is something we can obviously treat and work on and hopefully it will go away."

But where does this leave Crosby and the Penguins? The sad thing is, this new diagnosis doesn't really improve his position right now, Crosby and the Penguins are still in limbo. Crosby has to get treatment and see if his symptoms will go away, there is no guarantee they will, and there is still no timetable for his return. The fact that it's "just" a soft tissue injury doesn't guarantee Crosby will return any time soon, so in a way its good news but bad news at the same time. 
So whats next for Crosby? Unfortunately it's still a waiting game at this point, neck/head injuries are very serious and need to be treated that way, which is why Crosby will not get the "green light" to return until doctors are fully confident there is no risk of further injury for Crosby. You have to feel for Crosby everything he has gone through in the last year, he must be frustrated and perhaps a little upset at the Penguins medical staff that hasn't done much to help him. 

As much as it would be a horrible fate for the NHL, Sidney Crosby should consider retiring. Although the 24 year old Crosby claims he's "never thought of that" it is ultimately something he has to have thought about and something he should seriously consider. Now it would be really sad to see the best player in the world retire but it may be his best option. Think about it; Crosby has nothing left to prove; He's won a Stanley Cup, a Gold Medal and an Olympic MVP and NHL MVP. Heck, hes won just about every other NHL trophy, he was the first overall pick, scored 50 goals in a season. He is one of the best to ever play the game, he's changed the status quo of all-star hockey players. But think about the message Crosby would be sending to the youth if he walked away from the game; knowing that Sidney Crosby had to end his career due to concussions, would make kids a lot less ashamed of suffering a concussion and taking a prudent approach. Not to mention the NHL would actually have to take the issue of concussions seriously, or at least more seriously. Crosby would be the perfect spokesman for head injuries. Furthermore, why chance your long term health if another injury could happen in a split second? If he does come back, he's going to have to work his butt off to be the best player in the league, I know he did it once but who's saying he can do it twice, plus can he afford to be hit again!?
The C1 and C2 vertebra that was thought to be fractured are the same vertebra that break when a person is hung, another body check could have left him paralyzed or worse...... dead! Looking at it from that angle makes me sort of happy that his symptoms came back, because they likely saved him from a much worse fate. 

But the question still looms, how could the Penguins medical staff miss this; If you think about it, it's not that hard to miss, with all the talk about concussions, and how bad they are and how the greatest player in the game is suffering from one and that the NHL needs to take it seriously. With all the focus on concussions it's pretty easy to say, "well it must be a concussion, considering he has all the right symptoms". Doctors after all, are human they make mistakes, they assume things, and sometimes they just flat out screw up! But this begs the question, if the Penguins medical staff got it wrong with Crosby, are some of the other players around the league on Injured Reserve "mis-diagnosed"? 
I wish Crosby all the best in his recovery but, and I hope to see him back on the ice soon. (Heck I got tickets to see the Sabres vs Penguins in Buffalo) so we could see Sidney Crosby play, so it would be nice to actually see him play. 

Miller on top in Buffalo
Congratulations to my favorite player and Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, for winning his 234th game the other night against the Canadians. Miller had been sitting on the milestone for a few games and just couldn't notch the win, but after a 3-1 victory over the Habs, he tied Dominic Hasek's record for most franchise wins. This was also the first time Miller won two straight games since back in October! Miller set the record in 430 games while it took Hasek 491. Although in Haseks day they played to ties and I think everyone would agree "The Dominator" would have been a great bet against anyone in a shootout. Another reason I dislike living in the Leaf crazy market of T.O is there was hardly even a mention of Miller hitting this milestone! He deserves little props for reaching an amazing milestone. 
"I knew I was close because I've been sitting on it way too long, considering where I was at the start of the season," said Miller, who is 13-15-2 with the struggling Sabres this season. "It's nice.""It'll be something to smile about looking back on my career later on. I'm going to take it for what it is because I think Dom would have won a few shootouts in his day, so I think we can safely say Dom would have had a few more wins. I'll keep plugging away for the regulation wins."

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