Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier was taken to a hospital for tests after he hurt his back and was carted off the field early in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.
Shazier tackled receiver Josh Malone in the legs, fell to the ground and grabbed the middle of his back. The 25-year-old was strapped to a backboard and taken off. He was moving his arms on the field.
The Steelers said Shazier was going to a hospital for evaluation and wouldn’t return to the game.
It’s a significant setback for one of the NFL’s top defenses. The Pro Bowler from Ohio State leads the team in tackles and has three interceptions.
Antonio Brown cautiously ran routes during pregame warmups and was active for the Steelers’ game against the Bengals.
The NFL’s leading receiver missed practice last week with an injured toe. He didn’t move full-speed before the game, when he went on the field in full uniform and helmet to run patterns.
The Steelers also had JuJu Smith-Schuster back after missing one game with a hamstring injury, giving Pittsburgh a full set of receivers. Safety Mike Mitchell is inactive for the second time in three games with an ankle injury.
The Bengals were missing linebackers Vincent Rey (hamstring) and Nick Vigil (ankle), leaving them depleted at the position. Receiver A.J. Green is starting after recovering from a mid-week illness.