The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Thursday that Ryan Shazier underwent surgery to stabilize his spine, but it is unclear when the star linebacker might return to the field. According to one doctor, there’s a chance it may never happen.
Dr. Anthony Alessi, a neurologist from the University of Connecticut who consults with the NFL Players Association, told ESPN’s Michele Steele that the type of procedure Shazier underwent could indicate his playing career is over.
Alessi stressed that he has not had access to Shazier’s medical records and is only sharing his opinion, though it is obviously an educated one.
Players and coaches from the Steelers have said this week that they are far more concerned about Shazier’s health than they are about his timeline for returning to the field. As soon as Shazier hit the turf after lowering his head on a tackle Monday night, it was obviously he wasn’t dealing with something minor.
When Rob Gronkowski suffered a back injury last year, we heard a doctor say the same type of things about his playing career. While the two situations are not the same, we hope Alessi’s fears end up being unfounded as well.