A horrific sight was witnessed not only by everyone in attendance at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium but also by everyone watching the Monday Night Football game broadcast on ESPN. Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier was carted off of the field and taken to an area hospital after suffering a back injury while tackling Bengals receiver Josh Malone. After contact was made, Shazier rolled on the ground holding his back.
Shown in the video, Shazier led with his helmet while attempting to tackle Malone. The announcers point out that Shazier’s legs had very little if any, movement after the collision. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Twitter that Shazier was brought to the hospital for further evaluation, stating he would not return to tonight’s game and that they would not give any more updates at this time.
With the injury happening early in the first quarter of the game, the Steelers have felt the absence of Shazier on the field. The Ohio State product has accrued 87 tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions so far this season, his fourth year in the league. Pittsburgh drafted Shazier in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft and the linebacker has not disappointed. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Steelers defense allows 5.17 yards per play when Shazier is on the field versus 6.02 yards per play when he is not on the field.
Everyone in the NFL is hoping for the best news for Shazier as back injuries are not taken lightly. Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert left immediately after Tomlin’s post-game interview to visit Shazier at the hospital. Defensive end Cam Heyward, who was seen holding Shazier’s hand while being evaluated on the field before being carted off, said that along with Tomlin and Colbert that the rest of the coaching staff and owner Art Rooney II were planning to see Shazier at the hospital while the players were going home. Steelers’ linebacker Vince Williams told ESPN that while being carted off of the field that Shazier told him (Williams) that he could feel his extremities and that he would be OK.
At the hospital, Shazier underwent MRI and CT scans, and was kept overnight for further evaluations. Reports are indicating now that Shazier suffered a spinal contusion, and that the injury will not require surgery at this time. The Steelers organization and Shazier hope that he will be able to return to Pittsburgh at some point during the day on Tuesday.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is also reporting that Shazier is starting to regain movement and feeling in his lower extremities, but that his progress will need to be monitored for the next 24-48 hours to see further signs of improvement.
We will be sure to bring more updates as they are released.
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