Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier had spinal surgery this week, and it remains unclear whether he will play football again.
The Steelers play on Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens in a game that features both bitter rivals and a pair of likely playoff teams. Yet nobody is talking about the contest, because in Pittsburgh, everyone is thinking about Ryan Shazier.
Shazier, 25, was injured on Monday night in a game with the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium during the first half. On Thursday, Shazier underwent spinal surgery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to stabilize the area.
On the play in question, the Pro Bowler attempted to make a tackle and made contact with the crown of his helmet, dropping him onto the field. Once there, Shazier grabbed the lower portion of his back and never moved his legs before being put on a stretcher and taken off the field.
Shazier spent two nights in a Cincinnati trauma center before being transported to Pittsburgh, where he remains in medical care.
It remains unclear whether Shazier can move his legs or if he will be able to move them in the future. His football future, although far less important at this juncture, also remains in doubt as his road to recovery begins.
With Shazier on the field, the Steelers will try to clinch the AFC North this weekend with a win over the Ravens. Pittsburgh has not won the Super Bowl since 2008, beating the Arizona Cardinals.