Sidney Crosby visits concussion specialist in Atlanta

Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby left the team to see concussion specialist Ted Carrick in Atlanta. Top defenseman Kris Letang was medically cleared to play after a concussion and will return to the lineup soon.

From general manager Ray Shero’s perspective, those are equally welcome developments.

Shero on Monday called Crosby’s time with Carrick “a good thing.” Crosby, who said Friday that he is still experiencing some trouble with motion and balance, was helped in August by Carrick, considered the pioneer of chiropractic neurology.

Shero said Crosby did not have a setback after skating Friday and Saturday, his first time on the ice since he left the lineup in early December because of a recurrence of concussion symptoms.

There always had been a plan for Crosby to check in with Carrick, who was out of the country until recently. Logistics made it easy for Crosby to go see him after traveling with the Penguins for weekend games in Florida.

Shero said there is no timetable for Crosby to return to the team, although it could be as early as next week, and that Crosby could go through specialized exercises and perhaps skate while under Carrick’s supervision.

“Those [exercises] seemed to help him,” Shero said. “We’re very fortunate [Carrick] was able to do this.”

Shero said he had dinner with Carrick in the fall and learned a great deal about the treatments Crosby had in the summer.

After Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion Jan. 6, 2011, it was determined that his injury affected his vestibular system, which is related to motion, balance and spatial orientation.

He was out for nearly 11 months before returning Nov. 21. In eight games, he had two goals, 10 assists. After a Dec. 5 game against Boston, Crosby was pulled from the lineup. He will miss his 16th game in a row tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Consol Energy Center.

Letang won’t be in that game, either, but he’s close to playing.

He got leveled Nov. 26 by Montreal’s Max Pacioretty with a hit that broke his nose. He returned to score the overtime winner, but was subsequently diagnosed with a concussion and has missed the past 20 games.

He has been skating — Shero said Letang had a rigorous workout Monday with coach Dan Bylsma while the rest of the team had a day off — and will return to practice today for a morning skate.

“It’s going to be up him at this point when he can come back to play,” Shero said. “He just needs to be comfortable and confident.”

Shero recently ran into Letang at a Walgreens and said that “we got a chance to catch up and he said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ “

Letang had three goals, 19 points in 22 games before he got hurt and is the team’s quarterback from the point on the power play.

“He’s a huge part of our team,” Shero said.

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