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Ryan Shazier starts rehab after having spinal surgery

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has started rehab as part of his ongoing recovery from spinal stabilization surgery, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center announced Thursday.

Shazier, who remains hospitalized, underwent surgery last week after suffering a spinal injury in the Steelers' victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4. The Steelersplaced him on injured reserve Tuesday.

Shazier suffered the scary spinal injury after his head collided with Cincinnati Bengals receiver Josh Malone's thigh while he was attempting to make a tackle. The linebacker was placed on a backboard and carted off the field before being transported to a Cincinnati area hospital. Steelers owner Art Rooney II, coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert visited Shazier in the hospital after the game.

Shazier was transferred two days later to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.

After the Steelers secured their second consecutive AFC North crown with their 39-38 win over the Ravens on Sunday, the team celebrated with Shazier via Facetime.

"A very emotional group in there. AFC North champs. We had Ryan Shazier on Facetime. He had an opportunity to share that moment with the team. That's a special thing," coach Mike Tomlin said after the game.

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