Steelers LB Ryan Shazier's football future uncertain after spinal surgery

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery on Wednesday night, the team announced Thursday.

Steelers Director of Communications Burt Lauten posted a statement from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center confirming the surgery.

The statement did not provide any update on Shazier’s condition.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said Shazier's season is over and that the Pro Bowl linebacker is facing "months" of recovery.

Shazier was transported back to Pittsburgh on Wednesday after suffering a spinal injury in Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

After making a tackle on wide receiver Josh Malone, the linebacker crumpled to the ground and was later taken to a nearby hospital via an ambulance.

Earlier in the week, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Shazier was not expected to need surgery.

ESPN’s Michele Steele wrote on Twitter that neurologist Dr. Anthony Alessi -- who did not have access to Shazier’s records -- said it was “a much more severe situation on our hands than we thought.”

Steele wrote that the doctor told her Shazier “may not play football again.” 

The initial prognosis on the injury was a spinal contusion, which seemed to be good news after the lower half of Shazier’s body went limp immediately following the hit.

On Tuesday, Shazier thanked his fans with a message on Twitter. Teammate Mike Mitchell said the linebacker was "in good spirits" Tuesday.

Shazier was the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He's recorded 205 tackles, seven sacks, seven interceptions and seven forced fumbles in his four seasons with Pittsburgh, making his first Pro Bowl last season.

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