The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that Ryan Shazier underwent a spinal stabilization surgery. The team released a message today.
The news is obviously not the most uplifting. When the injury occurred, all football thoughts immediately were erased and were replaced with hope that Shazier could walk again. However, with the announcement of the surgery, it is fair to say that his 2017 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers is officially over.
Now, the focus remains on him being healthy, walking, and hopefully getting out of the hospital soon. There have been multiple reports and sources speculating on the nature of the surgery. ESPN, had been in contact with neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi, who consults with the NFLPA. He said that the injury was more severe than originally anticipated.
However, a former NFL doctor, Dr. David J. Chao, updated on the announcement of the surgery where he speculates that the surgery does not necessarily indicate a setback. He mentions that the fact that Shazier did not have emergency surgery meant that the spinal chord was not compromised and that this surgery was to prevent further damage.
However, like Dr. Alessi, he is calling it a season for Shazier. The recovery timetable in his estimation is about 4-6 months. Now, we continue to wait and pray for good news as Shazier recovers, and tries to build up lower body strength.
For the Steelers, they move onto life past Shazier on the field. They have already signed Sean Spence and announced that Arthur Moats will start in place of Shazier on Sunday. L.J. Fort saw the field some after Tyler Matakevich went down with an injury as well. The Steelers will likely be looking at a linebacker by committee approach, as they shuffle multiple options and try to find an answer at linebacker moving forward.