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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 1:00 am

NFL

Steelers' Shazier still in hospital

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier will remain in a Cincinnati hospital until at least today to undergo further testing on a spinal injury suffered in the first quarter of Monday night's win over the Bengals.

Shazier left Paul Brown Stadium on a stretcher less than four minutes into his team's 23-20 victory over Cincinnati following a tackle that left the 25-year-old writhing on the turf, his legs motionless. He underwent extensive testing overnight, with the team saying Shazier's injury did not require surgery “at this time.”

The Steelers had hoped Shazier would be able to return to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The timetable has been pushed back at least 24 to 48 hours. He will remain at University of Cincinnati Medical Center under the care of neurosurgeons David Okonwko and Joseph Cheng. Shazier is expected to be transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital later in the week.

While Shazier stayed in Cincinnati surrounded by family and his medical team, his team tried to find a way forward without one of its rising stars.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and team president Art Rooney II visited Shazier before heading back to Pittsburgh. Tomlin called their conversation “normal” and that Shazier was concerned about the well-being of the rest of the team, including good friend and fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams.

“Ryan is a legitimate leader,” Tomlin said. “He's asking about the guys, Vince particularly. I told him about the guys. We talked about how the game unfolded.”

Pittsburgh and Cincinnati combined for 239 penalty yards and five personal fouls, including a taunting penalty on Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a blindside hit on Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict that resulted in Smith-Schuster being hit with a one-game suspension.

Bengals defensive back George Iloka was also suspended one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Extra points

Chicago placed right guard Kyle Long (shoulder) on injured reserve for the second straight season. The Bears placed defensive lineman Mitch Unrein (knee) on injured reserve and signed linebacker Howard Jones and offensive lineman Cameron Lee from the practice squad. ... The NFL denied New England tight end Rob Gronkowski's appeal of a one-game suspension for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Buffalo defensive back Tre'Davious White. Gronkowski, who apologized for the hit, will serve his suspension against Miami next Monday night. ... Denver placed defensive end Derek Wolfe (neck) on season-ending injured reserve.