Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier showing gradual improvement

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 10, 2017 at 5:08 PM
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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday after sustaining a severe back injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, remains hospitalized but continues to show gradual improvement.

Doctors are controlling and limiting his movement as they wait for the swelling and bruising in his back to subside, people familiar with his condition told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Sunday.

According to the report, it is premature to say whether Shazier will be able to play football again as the focus remains on his recovery. The team says it is concerned solely about his short- and long-term health.

A Pro Bowl selection last season, the 25-year-old Shazier spent Monday and Tuesday night at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center before being transferred to a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center facility.

Since he returned to Pittsburgh, Shazier has received visits from Steelers owner Art Rooney and many of his teammates, according to ESPN.

At least 15 teammates, including wide receiver Antonio Brown, will be wearing cleats honoring Shazier for Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Brown posted a short video on Snapchat Friday of the customized cleats he intends to wear during warmups prior to the game.

One yellow cleat features Shazier's face, while the other has a picture of a lion, which Shazier has used on social media on numerous occasions. Both cleats have Shazier's name and number (50) on them, along with his hashtag "#SHALIEVE."

Shazier was injured while making a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone with 11:14 remaining in the first quarter of the Steelers' 23-20 win. Shazier hit Malone low with his shoulder pads, then immediately reached for his back while his legs remained motionless.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Shazier leads the team in tackles (89), interceptions (three) and pass deflections (11) this season.

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