Steelers star linebacker Ryan Shazier remains hospitalized after being injured Monday night at Cincinnati, and while team officials do not expect him to play this season, they are hopeful he can make a full recovery. Shazier had spinal surgery last week and is expected to remain in the hospital for several more days.
Doctors will not be able to make a more exact determination of the extent of his injuries until after swelling dissipates, sources said, but there remains every expectation Shazier will be able to walk and lead a normal life. The surgery he underwent back in Pittsburgh was a procedure doctors initially thought might be required on Monday night, when he was rushed to the hospital from the stadium. He remains in good spirits.
The Steelers would be quite surprised if Shazier is able to play this season, but are in no rush to make any decisions and have yet to put him on injured reserve (which would formally end his season). There is no expectation of him returning to the field this season, one source termed it "very, very unlikely," and Shazier will be better able to get a handle on any timeline moving forward in terms of his playing career perhaps as soon as this week.
The NFL and its medical team have been monitoring the situation very closely, sources said, with Shazier suffering a serious injury from what appeared at the time to be a fairly normal football play. NFL medical officials have been in regular contact with Shazier's doctors since Monday night, sources said, beginning with the staff at the hospital in Cincinnati. That contact has continued with the doctors at the hospital in Pittsburgh and with the Steelers medical team as well.