Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier remained hospitalized in Cincinnati on Tuesday afternoon, still being evaluated for a back injury suffered during Pittsburgh’s 23-20 win over the Bengals on Monday night.
Coach Mike Tomlin had no update about the extent of Shazier’s injury during his regular weekly news conference on Tuesday afternoon. He said that Dr. David Okonkwo, a Steelers team doctor, was still on site with Shazier at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
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The Steelers released a statement early Tuesday morning, saying that Shazier does not need surgery “at this time” and is continuing to improve. The team was hopeful that he could return to Pittsburgh later Tuesday.
Shazier lowered his shoulder and tackled receiver Josh Malone in the first quarter. He landed on his chest, reached for the middle of his back, and then rolled over. He lifted his arms, flexing his right hand and calling for help, but otherwise did not appear to move much as he was removed from the field on a backboard and a cart.
“Right now, we’re just happy that he’s getting the necessary medical attention that he deserves,” Tomlin said.
Oft-injured early in his career, Shazier has played in 25 consecutive games (including playoffs) and had rarely missed a defensive snap in that time. He did, however injure his ankle late in the Steelers’ game last week against Green Bay. Shazier missed two practices this week but started Monday night.
Tyler Matakevich initially replaced Shazier – but Matakevich later suffered an injured left shoulder, so L.J. Fort finished the game at left inside linebacker.
“It’s extremely tough to concentrate when you’re thinking about your teammate like that, but you’ve just got to do your best to stay focused and come back to worrying about your brother when the game’s over,” Fort said.
“Coach T did a good job of getting everyone focused and back in the game.”
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