"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. "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."
A Pro Bowl selection last season, Shazier was injured while making a tackle on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone with 11:14 remaining in the first quarter of Pittsburgh's 23-20 win on Dec. 4. Shazier hit Malone low with his shoulder pads, then immediately reached for his back while his legs remained motionless.
The 25-year-old was placed on a backboard and carted off the field before being transported to a Cincinnati area hospital. He was later flown to Pittsburgh to undergo surgery on Wednesday.
Shazier led the team in tackles (89), interceptions (three) and pass deflections (11) this season at the time of his injury.
The Steelers dedicated Sunday's 39-38 victory over the Baltimore Ravens to Shazier and presented the game ball to him in his hospital bed via FaceTime.