Former Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is not expected to need surgery after being carted off the field after suffering a back injury during the Pittsburgh Steelers' game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement early Tuesday morning that Shazier's "injury will not require surgery at this time, and he continues to improve."
Statement by #Steelers GM/VP Kevin Colbert on LB Ryan Shazier pic.twitter.com/WEp6wktNCu— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) December 5, 2017
Shazier will remain at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center overnight for further evaluation, but is hopeful to return to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
According to reports by NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala, Shazier's injury was described postgame as a spinal contusion, but his Steelers teammates are encouraged about his prognosis, with the belief that Shazier will be able to make a full recovery.
Steelers told Ryan Shazier has a spinal contusion and that some swelling is involved. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert took a police escort to hospital.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 5, 2017
Steelers won't know more re Ryan Shazier until the swelling goes down. But Tommy Maddox had similar injury, made full recovery once swelling was gone. That is giving these players much optimism.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 5, 2017
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted Tuesday morning that Shazier has "some movement in his lower extremities after last night's back injury, but the next 24-48 hours are key for increased improvement."
#Steelers LB Ryan Shazier has shown promising signs this morning. Im told he has some movement in his lower extremities after last nights back injury, but the next 24-48 hours are key for increased improvement.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2017
There still remains enough reason for concern that Shazier's father, Vernon, and many of his Steelers teammates, including fellow former Buckeye defender Cameron Heyward, took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to ask for prayers for Shazier.
We need your prayers!#Shalieve#Solafide pic.twitter.com/S3DYU9YGzs— Vernon J. Shazier (@VernonShazier) December 5, 2017
Everyone please send your prayers for my lil bro @RyanShazier That W was for you. Love you bro https://t.co/MUD8Myeztf— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) December 5, 2017
Shazier suffered the injury during the first quarter of Monday night's game, when Shazier immediately fell to the ground and reached for his lower back after attempting to make a tackle on Bengals receiver Josh Malone.