The morning after, Mike Tomlin really didn't have an update on Ryan Shazier, but if there had to be a word used to capture the tone of a news conference that was taking place about 15 hours after Shazier was strapped to a back-board and taken off the field and to a waiting ambulance for a trip to a trauma center, that word would be "hopeful."
"I want to start with a few thank-yous," began Tomlin today at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. "We were dealing with some tough circumstances last night, and we got extraordinary support from the people in Cincinnati. Specifically, the University of Cincinnati Medical Center staff and personnel, the Cincinnati Paramedics, the Cincinnati Police Department, all went above and beyond in assisting Ryan and us in dealing with the circumstances. Myself, Art Rooney II, and Kevin Colbert were given an opportunity to get over to UCMC after the game and visit with Ryan and a few of his family members and close loved ones. He's being given expert medical care, and we're really pleased with the efforts of those people involved. We have our medical staff on site as well."
Following Monday night's 23-20 comeback win over the Bengals, the Steelers traveling party returned to Pittsburgh, which is standard operating procedure for the team's regular season road trips. But Shazier's injury and the severity of it made this trip to Cincinnati anything but standard for the Steelers. Tomlin, Colbert, and Rooney stayed with Shazier in Cincinnati Monday night.
"I really have no update in terms of his medical status except what was released earlier," said Tomlin. "I'd imagine at the appropriate time those responsible for his care will give you a reasonable assessment of where he is. I'd imagine that could occur as soon as later on today."
The update provided in the wee hours Tuesday morning came via a statement from General Manager Kevin Colbert. That statement revealed Shazier would not need surgery at this time and his condition was continuing to improve. That's where things stood as Tomlin conducted his regular Tuesday news conference.
"Ryan is in very good spirits," said Tomlin. "A tough guy. Support from family and loved ones. We realize and understand that he's in really good hands and is getting expert medical care, and he also challenged us to move on with what we need to move on with, and that he's with us as well. That being said, we'll do that, and we'll continue to provide you insight, where appropriate, concerning where he is with his recovery."
In the business of professional football, that means the Steelers will begin preparing for Sunday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens when the players arrive for work on Wednesday morning.
TOMLIN'S INJURY UPDATE
"Tyler (Matakevich) also was injured in the game. His shoulder is being evaluated as we speak. I don't understand his status or availability potentially for this week. I'd imagine there are some other bumps and bruises associated with play. I'll highlight those things as we move through the week. Most of them will be revealed through practice participation."