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Dale Earnhardt Jr. says concussion symptoms have ‘plateaued,’ doctors stressing patience

By all indications it appears Earnhardt will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Doctors are emphasizing to Dale Earnhardt Jr. that he must be patient in his recovery from concussion-like symptoms, so it doesn't appear as if NASCAR's most popular driver is close to returning.

Earnhardt, 41, provided the latest update on his condition with a tweet Saturday morning.

"Update: No change lately. Symptoms have plateaued over the last week. Balance/Gaze Stabilization are only issues. Docs preaching patience," Earnhardt posted.

Earnhardt is sitting out his third consecutive Sprint Cup race. Hendrick Motorsports named Alex Bowman to substitute for Earnhardt July 17 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, while Jeff Gordon filled in last weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will also drive Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

Gordon, who is an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, is expected to remain as driver of the No. 88 car until Earnhardt is medically cleared.

"I will be here as long as they need me. I say that very loosely," Gordon said Friday at Pocono. "... Will it be more? I don't know. I'm just thankful that the team believes in me and that gives me confidence in myself.

"I want him back when he's ready and I think that's what this team wants and I think that's what Dale wants. And only he and the doctors truly know when that will be."

Earnhardt missed two races in 2012 after suffering two concussions within a six-week span. His latest symptoms, which include issues with balance and nausea, are believed to have resulted from two crashes within a four-week span — June 12 at Michigan International Speedway and July 2 at Daytona International Speedway.

"There's certain things you can race through, but one of the things you cannot race through is concussion-like symptoms," Earnhardt said on The Dale Jr. Download podcast on Monday. "The balance deal is a critical part of being able to drive a race car."