– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion-like symptoms) underwent testing from an independent specialist (Dr. Alexander Vaccaro of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital), and the results found no evidence of a past or present neck fracture. Rather, tests found that Crosby is suffering from a soft-tissue injury in his neck that could be causing post-concussion symptoms, as “symptoms of a soft-tissue neck injury are similar to concussion symptoms.” Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson, GM Ray Shero, Pens’ owner Mario Lemieux and CEO David Morehouse were in Philadelphia to meet with Vaccaro, a spinal trauma expert. Crosby was diagnosed with a neck injury last week, in addition to his concussion history and symptoms, by Dr. Robert S. Bray. Bray however, told the Penguins’ captain that the neck injury, swelling in the C1-2 joint of the neck which required an injection, had healed.
Crosby skated with injured teammates F Jordan Staal and F Jordan Despres before Penguins’ practice on Monday and Tuesday. He had not worked out with the team since a two-game Florida road trip in mid-January. He had previously been skating on his own while undergoing treatment and testing in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
All doctors and specialist have agreed that Crosby’s neck is safe, that he’s not in danger and that the injury is 100% treatable. Crosby suffered his first concussion on January 1 during the Winter Classic when he took a headshot from then-Capitals’ F David Steckel. That shot to the head is believed to be what caused the soft-tissue injury, however, it’s impossible to determine when exactly the injury occurred. Crosby was then hit from behind into the boards by Lightning’ D Victor Hedman on January 4. Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion on January 6, and remained sidelined until November when he made his season debut. Crosby recorded 12 points in eight games this season before experiencing concussion-like symptoms again on December 5 after taking a bump from Bruins’ F David Krejci. Following the most recent setback, Sid the Kid wasn’t even sure what particular play caused the concussion symptoms to return. The Penguins also said that he passed an ImPACT concussion test afterwards.
– Devils’ F Zach Parise says he and the Devils have not been talking contract. Parise, who has 15 goals and 40 points this season, is a prime candidate to be traded at the February 27 trade deadline. Parise becomes a UFA on July 1.
– According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Astros have signed RHP Livan Hernandez to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. The 36-year-old posted a 4.47 ERA and 99/46 K/BB ratio over 175 1/3 innings last season for the Nationals. He has logged at least 175 innings in each season since 1998.
– A source close to WR Plaxico Burress tells ESPN NY the free agent has “serious questions” about the ability of QB Mark Sanchez. Good friend and Giants’ RB Brandon Jacobs doesn’t think Plax will back with the Jets “at all” because of the locker-room soap opera. Jacobs added that Burress’ preference was to play for the Giants in 2011 rather than the Jets.
– A source close to the situation told the National Football Post that free agent MLB Lofa Tatupu (knee) sat out the 2011 season. Tatupu had both of his knees surgically repaired before the season. “It was just injury-related. He wasn’t 100% and didn’t feel he was ready to go.” Tatupu, 29, plans to make a comeback in 2012. The Bears, Redskins, and Raiders showed interest in Tatupu last offseason.