There’s a really good chance you saw the same thing I did near the end of last week’s win over San Francisco. I saw Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier head to the sideline in pain. My first thought was that it looked an awful lot like a stinger which hurt like crazy but players can typically bounce back quickly from.
The other thought in my mind however came to fruition today as Shazier was officially listed as “out” for the game in St. Louis on Sunday. Last season as a rookie, Shazier played in just nine games, starting five but he missed seven with injury issues.
The news that came down a short time ago is disappointing for us but has to be even worse for him. We all saw what he was capable of last week as he recorded 15 tackles including a sack and a fumble recovery. His presence on the defense was the single biggest factor in my opinion in terms of why the Steelers were successful against the 49ers.
In college at Ohio State, Shazier’s three seasons saw him play in 12, 13 and 14 games so right there we can surmise that injury issues were not a big deal for him. With his smallish size and lighter weight however, the injuries are most definitely a concern and don’t for a minute think the Steelers aren’t as worried about this as you and I are.
While for now, I’m willing to just chalk this up to a simple shoulder injury that won’t keep him out past Sunday, my overall thought process on him moving forward is one of great hesitation. If Shazier can’t consistently stay healthy then he becomes a non-factor and as useless as a player who never gets a hat on Sunday.
That’s not good especially for a first round draft pick.