Injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier returns to Pittsburgh
Ryan Shazier is back in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers released a statement early Wednesday evening saying the linebacker is receiving medical attention at a UPMC facility.
“He will continue tests and evaluations before his medical team provides any further updates on his condition,” Steelers director of communications Burt Lauten said in a statement.
Shazier spent two nights at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after suffering a spinal injury while making a tackle during the first quarter of the Steelers' victory at the Bengals on Monday night.
UPMC director of neurotrauma Dr. David Okonkwo had previously been part of the team evaluating Shazier, who was taken off the Paul Brown Stadium field on a cart.
UPMC's Department of Neurological Surgery is at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Oakland.
Meanwhile, support for Shazier on Wednesday came from not only the Steelers locker room but across the league. The Baltimore Ravens — arguably the Steelers' biggest rival and their opponent Sunday night at Heinz Field — opened their team meeting Wednesday morning with a group prayer for Shazier.
“Our team chaplain, he led it for us, just a prayer for his health and well-being,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said in a conference call. “We've got a lot of respect for Ryan and his family. His dad (Vernon) has done chapels for us when we have been in Florida playing, and we just have had a relationship with (Ryan) through the years in the draft and things like that. We are praying, and we want all the best for his health.”
Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, taken two picks after Shazier in the 2014 draft, told reporters in Baltimore he exchanged texts with Shazier and that Shazier texted back that he was “OK.”
Shazier was on the minds of Steelers players in the locker room Wednesday, but for the most part it was business as usual because the team was in the midst of a short week before its next game.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to Ryan and his family, obviously, but we have a game to prepare for,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “We know that's what Ryan wants. In talking to Ryan, that's what he wants.”
Fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams, who plays next to Shazier in the middle of the Steelers defense, wore Shazier's No. 50 at practice in tribute.
Veteran linebacker Arthur Moats said while many of Shazier's teammates have communicated with him, he's not aware of any who are abreast of the specifics of Shazier's injury or the status of his recovery.
“I'm always optimistic. Anybody who talks to me knows I'm always going to be best-case scenario,” Moats said. “But at the end of the day, this is something not a lot of us have experience with, so we just have to take it day by day.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.