The Pittsburgh Steelers made it official Tuesday afternoon, placing linebacker Ryan Shazier on the injured reserve list.
Shazier remains hospitalized after having spinal stabilization surgery Dec. 6 after suffering a scary back injury two days earlier in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Unfortunately Ryan will not be able to contribute on the field during the remainder of this season,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement released by the team. “However, even off the field Ryan will continue to be one of our team leaders. We know his spirit and positive outlook will help him to continue in his recovery, as well as serve as an inspiration to our team.”
The Steelers paid tribute to their teammate during the Sunday night game in which they clinched an AFC North title. They wore “Shalieve” cleats and No. 50 T-shirts and carried his jersey onto the field before the game.
Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Tuesday that he remains impressed by Shazier’s spirit. “I go see him, he wants to talk about the game plan. He wants to talk about the guys. He wants to talk about what’s transpiring on the practice field.”
Shazier was injured in the first quarter of a brutal game when he lowered his head on a hit to Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone. Shazier immediately clutched at his back and rolled over before being immobilized by the medical staff and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He was transferred to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where the surgery was performed.
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