Ryan Shazier having 'encouraging' improvement, his father says

The lack of updates on Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier’s health is a sign that this will be a long road to recovery.

Shazier, who was injured making a tackle on Dec. 4 against the Bengals, had spinal stabilization surgery though was well enough to watch the Steelers’ game against the Patriots last Sunday from a luxury box. Shazier’s father Vernon told ESPN that his son is improving.

“We have seen some improvement that is encouraging,” Vernon Shazier said. “We’re taking it one day at a time. We do not know what tomorrow holds. It’s a [daily] journey we don’t know. But I know God is getting the message.”

Vernon Shazier told ESPN he could not go into any specifics about the injury. The Steelers have provided almost no details about Shazier’s injury or his recovery.

Shazier’s injury was devastating, one of the most shocking moments in the NFL in many years. It has led to an outpouring of support, from NFL fans and many players around the league. That has been uplifting, Vernon Shazier told ESPN.

“We’re praying for healing and keeping our mind and faith strong,” Vernon said. “We know we’re in a deep valley, but we do not feel alone.”

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger walks off the field holding the jersey of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a Dec. 11 game. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!