Ryan Shazier is progressing. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker notably underwent spinal stabilization surgery on Wednesday evening in order to address the dangerous injury that he suffered just two nights earlier, the team has formally announced.
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) December 7, 2017
Shazier suffered a spinal injury during his team’s 23-20 victory over the rival Cincinnati Bengals on Monday evening. The injury occurred during a seemingly routine tackle attempt of Bengals rookie wide receiver Josh Malone during the first quarter of action. Watch Shazier, in the middle of the field, immediately reach for his back in obvious discomfort after making diving contact with Malone.
However, concrete updates on Shazier’s status have been hard to come by since Monday evening’s AFC North matchup concluded. Team officials initially expressed optimism that he might be able to avoid surgery, but that means of recovery was obviously deemed inferior upon Shazier’s return to Pittsburgh’s University of Pittsburgh Medical Center on Wednesday
“I really have no update in terms of his medical status,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday, per David Smith of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “Obviously it was a tough evening, but, man, Ryan’s a trooper. I had an opportunity to spend some time with him. He’s in really good spirits. Tough guy.”
Thank you for the prayers. Your support is uplifting to me and my family. #SHALIEVE
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) December 5, 2017
The 25-year-old linebacker even had a message for his team shortly after sustaining the injury, which was relayed through the aforementioned Tomlin.
“He also challenged us to move on with what we need to move on to do,” Tomlin said of Shazier.
Just got off phone w neurologist Dr Anthony Alessi, who consults w NFLPA, asked him what he makes of Shazier's spinal stabilization surgery. "It's not good…We're not going to see him this season. He may not play football again."
— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) December 7, 2017