Ryan Shazier, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker who suffered a scary spinal injury in the Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals, remains hospitalized, with his teammates planning to pay tribute to him in Sunday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
A number of Steelers players plan to wear cleats bearing the message “Shalieve” as Shazier continues to recover from spinal stabilization surgery in a Pittsburgh hospital.
Although there have been few updates since the middle of last week, ESPN reported that Shazier is showing gradual improvement, with doctors limiting his movement as swelling and bruising subsides. At the moment, it is unclear whether Shazier will play football again.
“I’m not worried about him playing for us again, I’m more worried about him,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Thursday. “Y’all have been updated as much as we have. The thing that we’re hopeful for and prayerful for is that he comes back and he’ll be okay.
“The football stuff is secondary. His life is a lot more important to me than football.”
Shazier, 25, was injured on a first-quarter play when he lunged to stop the Bengals’ Josh Malone and his head slammed into Malone’s thigh. He immediately fell to the turf, then turned over on his back while appearing to have trouble moving his legs. He was immobilized and taken to a Cincinnati hospital, with at least one teammate in tears at the scene.
Shazier was reported to have some movement in his lower extremities, but Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Thursday he will require “months of recovery.”