Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier undergoes spinal stablilzation surgery

(Philip G. Pavely/USA TODAY Sports)

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery on Wednesday night after suffering a severe back injury in Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team announced Thursday that the surgery was performed by team physicians David Okonkwo and Joseph Maroon, who has long been with the team and developed the ImPACT concussion testing program that the NFL has adopted.

Spinal stabilization surgery is done with the intent to stabilize the spine when there is some evidence of instability there. The procedure involves the insertion of some internal fixation, using hardware, to stabilize a segment of the spine, which presumably gives a person the best opportunity to allow the neurological recovery to continue.

The 25-year-old Shazier suffered the injury while hitting Cincinnati’s Josh Malone in the first quarter of Pittsburgh’s 23-20 victory over the Bengals on Monday night. Shazier motioned to his lower back immediately following the hit and was taken off the field on a stretcher.

On Wednesday, Shazier was transported from University of Cincinnati Medical Center to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, after spending two nights in Cincinnati while undergoing medical tests.

The atmosphere in the Steelers’ locker room has been a combination of optimism and concern, with details on Shazier’s overall progress scarce. Shazier has been in contact with select players, including safety Mike Mitchell and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

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