Shazier was injured on Dec. 4 when Pittsburgh was playing against the Bengals in Cincinnati on Monday Night Football. The linebacker from Ohio State went to make a tackle on Bengals receiver Josh Malone and hit the receiver with the crown of his helmet. Shazier immediately went down and began reaching for his back while on the ground. He was carted off the field and taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
After spending an extra day at UCMC, Shazier was transferred to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where he underwent spinal stabilization surgery on Dec. 6. When the injury first happened, the team initially said he would not need surgery.
After the surgery, Dr. Anthony Alessi, a neurologist who consults with the NFLPA, told Michele Steele of ESPN.com that Shazier "may not play football again" and that this surgery indicates "this is a much more severe situation on our hands than we thought." Alessi added that surgery would be needed when bones around the spine are dislocated and that this injury is more severe than a contusion, according to Steele.
Shazier, a 2014 first-round pick, started the first 12 games this season for the Steelers. His 89 tackles and three interceptions are both the top marks for Pittsburgh, and he also has two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for the year.