Ryan Shazier won't need surgery, will remain in hospital after suffering scary back injury

CINCINNATI -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent an MRI and a CT scan at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after suffering a back injury in a collision with Cincinnati Bengals receiver Josh Malone early in the first quarter of Pittsburgh's 23-20 win Monday night. Shazier left the stadium in an ambulance.

Shazier's injury will not require surgery at this time, and he will stay overnight and continue to be evaluated with the hopes of returning to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the team announced.

Steelers linebacker Vince Williams told ESPN that Shazier, as he was being carted off the field, told Williams he could feel his extremities and that he would be OK.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to him," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said immediately after the game. "He's receiving quality medical care."

Tomlin and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert were seen entering the hospital minutes after Tomlin's postgame news conference.

"Right now we're just happy he's getting the necessary medical attention he deserves," Tomlin said. "We got a lot of brothers in there who are thoughtful about him and want to honor that performance for him."

On Tuesday, Tomlin said that while an update could come later in the day, "I really have no update on his medical status."

He said he spent time with Shazier and that he is in good spirits. "He's being given expert medical care," Tomlin said.

Steelers safety Mike Mitchell tweeted Tuesday that he'd spoken with Shazier.

Defensive end Cam Heyward said that Steelers owner Art Rooney II and coaches planned to see Shazier at the hospital while players were going home. Heyward said he was holding Shazier's hand "to keep him calm."

"I think everybody was quiet -- their side, our side," Heyward said. He added that his teammates told each other at halftime, "We have to get this W for 50," referring to Shazier's jersey number.

Tomlin said focusing on the game after the injury was difficult.

"We care about that man," Tomlin said. "That's a tough element of our game."

Shazier led with his helmet into the area just above Malone's hip, then signaled to trainers as he rolled on the ground and appeared to hold his lower back. He was carted off the field after the injury.

The scene was somber as teammates looked emotional kneeling around Shazier, who was down on the grass for a few minutes with 10:58 on the clock. Tomlin looked affected as a team doctor informed him about the injury.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after the game that the Steelers had to try to regroup after Shazier's injury.

"It's tough, scary, sad," he said. "Emotions running like crazy. One of our leaders on defense. Scary situation. Thoughts and prayers to his family and [injured Bengals linebacker Vontaze] Burfict and his family. Pray for everyone involved."

Shazier is a force of a playmaker with 87 tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions this season. The fourth-year player looked forward to playing his first full NFL season after missing games in each of the past three seasons.

Second-year linebacker Tyler Matakevich filled in for Shazier.

Shazier's impact on the Steelers' defense has been immense since the team selected him in the first round of the 2014 draft. Pittsburgh allows 5.17 yards per play with Shazier on the field and 6.02 yards per play with him off the field. That's a jump from the league's fourth-best rate to second-worst, according to ESPN Stats & Information.