Shazier is still being monitored.
On the first offensive possession of the game for the Cincinnati Bengals, linebacker Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers appeared to suffer a serious back injury on an attempt to make a tackle.
Shazier tweeted from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon to thank fans for their support.
Thank you for the prayers. Your support is uplifting to me and my family.
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier)
On Tuesday afternoon, head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the media about Shazier.
“I really have no update in terms of his medical status other than what was released earlier,” he said. “I would imagine at the appropriate time that those who are responsible for his care will give you a reasonable assessment of where he is. I imagine that would occur as soon as later on today.”
“From my perspective, obviously it was a tough evening,” he said. “Ryan’s a trooper. I had an opportunity to spend some time with him, and he’s in good spirits.”
The first official statement from the Steelers was encouraging:
Statement by GM/VP Kevin Colbert on LB Ryan Shazier
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt)
The neurosurgeons at UC Medical Center who are directing Shazier’s care released an update through the team on Tuesday afternoon.
Joint statement from Dr. David Okonkwo (UPMC) & Dr. Joseph Cheng (UCMC) on LB Ryan Shazier.
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt)
Although the Steelers did not say what the injury was, a report from Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network said it was a “.”
What happened? After his tackle attempt, Shazier immediately reached for the middle of his back and stayed down on the field. Eventually he was strapped to a backboard and put on the back of a cart and taken to the locker room.
The ESPN broadcast on Monday Night Football noted that Shazier didn’t move his legs after the hit. , he was taken out of the stadium in an ambulance shortly after he was carted off the field.
What did the Steelers say? Immediately after the game, Mike Tomlin said the team had no update on Shazier’s status.
“This is a tough game, tough business,” Tomlin said. “5-0 (Shazier) is our brother.”
Early reports from the locker room were optimistic:
Steelers won’t know more re Ryan Shazier until the swelling goes down. But Tommy Maddox had similar injury, made full recovery once swelling was gone. That is giving these players much optimism.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala)
Some good news coming out from Steelers. Two players called Shazier’s injury a spinal chord concussion, comparable to Tommy Maddox injury in 2002; Maddox missed 1 game. Encouraging news, another said.
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette)
Ryan Shazier “better than what it could have been,” per team source. Looking better
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac)
On Tuesday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Shazier had some movement in his lower body:
LB Ryan Shazier has shown promising signs this morning. I’m told he has some movement in his lower extremities after last night’s back injury, but the next 24-48 hours are key for increased improvement.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet)
that the team sent a private plane to pick up Shazier’s parents to bring them to Cincinnati.
Shazier, 25, is a former first-round pick for the Steelers who has developed into one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. He earned a spot in the Pro Bowl last year and has forced two fumbles and caught three interceptions so far in 2017.
What does this mean for the Steelers? The most important thing for now is just that Shazier is OK after what appeared to be a serious injury.
With Shazier out of the lineup, Pittsburgh turned to Tyler Matakevich to step in to his place. The second-year linebacker was a seventh-round pick in 2016 and has appeared in all 28 games of his career, but has never made a start. Matakevich later left the game with an injury.
The Steelers came back to beat the Bengals a violent — and frankly, depressing — game.
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