Steelers LB Shazier remains in hospital with back injury

Pittsburgh player injured making a tackle in NFL game

Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, in yellow, is carted off the field after an injury in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier will remain in a Cincinnati hospital until at least Wednesday to undergo further testing on a spinal injury suffered in the first quarter of Monday night’s win over the Bengals.

Shazier left Paul Brown Stadium on a stretcher less than four minutes into his team’s 23-20 victory over Cincinnati following a tackle that left the 25-year-old writhing on the turf, his legs motionless. He underwent extensive testing overnight, with the team saying Shazier’s injury did not require surgery “at this time.”

The Steelers had hoped Shazier would be able to return to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The timetable has been pushed back at least 24 to 48 hours. He will remain at University of Cincinnati Medical Center under the care of neurosurgeons David Okonwko and Joseph Cheng. Shazier is expected to be transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital later in the week.

While the severity of the injury will remain unknown until the swelling subsides, the relentlessly upbeat Shazier offered a bit of hope Tuesday evening.

“Thank you for the prayers,” Shazier tweeted . “Your support is uplifting to me and my family. #SHALIEVE”

While Shazier stayed in Cincinnati surrounded by family and his medical team, the Steelers are left trying to find a way forward without one of their rising stars.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and team president Art Rooney II visited Shazier before heading back to Pittsburgh. Tomlin called their conversation “normal” and said Shazier was concerned about the well-being of the rest of the team, including good friend and fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams.

“Ryan is a legitimate leader,” Tomlin said. “He’s asking about the guys, Vince particularly. I told him about the guys. We talked about how the game unfolded.”

And not about Shazier’s prognosis.

“It was painful to get on that plane last night, but that’s life,” Tomlin said. “We realize and understand he’s in really good hands and is getting expert medical care. He challenged us to move on with what we need to move on with.”

Shazier’s injury came on a relatively innocuous-looking play. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton hit Josh Malone for a short 3-yard gain, with Shazier hitting Malone square in the back. Shazier, in his fourth season after being taken in the first round of the 2014 draft, led with his head while making the tackle.

He immediately rolled over onto his back, raising his hands in the air while his legs went limp. He was placed on a backboard, then put on a stretcher before being taken to the trauma centre at University of Cincinnati Medical Center while players from both sides watched in silence or knelt in prayer.

“I’ve been in football all my life. Unfortunately injuries occur, serious injuries occur from time to time. They’re capable of shaking you,” Tomlin said. “We all deal with it in different ways.”

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio spot on 93.7 The Fan that he’d heard “encouraging things” but that Shazier was “not out of the woods.”

Pittsburgh appeared to spend much of the first half in a daze following Shazier’s exit, falling behind by 17 points before rallying to win its seventh straight on Chris Boswell’s field goal on the final snap, culminating more than three hours of occasionally brutal play.

The teams combined for 239 penalty yards and five personal fouls, including a taunting penalty on Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a blindside hit on Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict that resulted in Smith-Schuster being hit with a one-game suspension .

Bengals defensive back George Iloka was also suspended one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

“I’ll acknowledge there were some unfortunate things in that game that we don’t need in our game by both sides,” Tomlin said. “My job as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers is to work hard to minimize those things that we’re involved in before they occur and we do.

“But they did (occur) last night in an instance or two and we’ll make an accounting of that and work hard to make sure they don’t happen again.”

While Tomlin, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and the league grapple with how to rein in a rivalry in which the bad blood only seems to grow with each passing year, support for Shazier extended far beyond the NFL.

Ian Cole, a defenceman on the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, called it a “shock” to see Shazier go down so awkwardly.

“We’re not friends, we’re not buddies, by any means,” said Cole, who has met Shazier a handful of times. “But you do feel that kinship and it’s tough to see a guy go down like that, especially someone that’s as talented and as huge a part of a team as he is.”

The Steelers (10-2) spent Tuesday taking a breath before trying to regroup for a visit by AFC North rival Baltimore (7-5) next Sunday night.

A win and Pittsburgh will wrap up its third division title in four years, a prospect made more difficult without Shazier, though Tomlin is well aware prioritizing the impact on the lineup seems trivial.

Still, it’s part of the job.

“When they come into the building tomorrow,” Tomlin said, “we will reset and start anew like we always do.”

___

For more NFL coverage: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Will Graves, The Associated Press

NFL

Just Posted

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

International Bat Week (Oct. 24-31) is a time for people to learn more about the nocturnal creatures and how to protect them. (Photo by Cory Olson)
Holy Halloween, it’s Bat Week!

Bats have been getting a bad rap — B.C. Bat Program looks to change that

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

Sail Canada picks military facility at 19 Wing Comox for wind, waves and accommodations

Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown
Opinion: Flu shot has important connection to COVID-19

Protecting yourself from flu season can help ease the strain the coronavirus is adding to hospitals

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

The drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health opens COVID-19 testing site at UVic

As with all other sites, an appointment is needed to receive a test

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Rotary District 5020 president Rod McKenzie (in chair) agreed to test out the CVCDA ramp and experience it from the perspective of an individual who relies on a wheelchair to get around. McKenzie is being prepped by Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports Society president Stephane Roy. Submitted by CVCDA
Accessibility the focus of Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon

COVID-19 means annual charity event will look considerably different this year

Royal Bay principal Mike Huck is glad to see the partnership between his high school and the Pacific Football Club. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Pacific FC partners with Sooke School District soccer academies

Royal Bay, EMCS and Dunsmuir Middle students to receive professional training

Most Read