Ryan Shazier attends his first Steelers practice since suffering spine injury

Ryan Shazier reacts as he is carted off the field. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – As the NFL’s Divisional Playoffs are approaching, there will be much focus on the eight teams still standing. Wednesday, a player in a wheelchair made arguably the biggest headline.

For the first time since suffering a scary spine injury December 4th, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier attended Pittsburgh practice.

“I am just happy for him,” teammate Vince Williams told Steelers.com while sitting in his locker still wearing Shazier’s No. 50 practice jersey that he sports every day. “It’s the next step for him. He came a long way. I am happy to see the improvement. Seeing him get back around football. It’s good to get those breaks and be around familiar faces again. He is just getting stronger. Every time I see him he gets stronger and stronger. His spirit is definitely starting to pick up more and more.”

I want to thank the Lord for the first downs that he has been allowing me to achieve. The touchdown is going to come in his timing, but today was a first down. I was finally able to make it to practice with my teammates. It’s great to be back for practices and meetings. Just to be able to feel a part of it means the world. So I’m working harder than I ever have to get back. Ive been making strides over the past month and continue to make progress. Taking it day-by-day, but I’m far from done. The Lord has not finished his work yet. I want to say thank you to the fans and Steelers Nation for the prayers. If it wasn’t for my family, friends and your prayers I wouldn’t be were I am now. They have lifted me and my family through this journey and I ask for you to continue praying for me, as I continue to work daily on improving my health. #Shalieve#Steelers#prayfor50

A post shared by Ryan Shazier (@shazier) on

Shazier captioned his Instagram photo by posting: I want to thank the Lord for the first downs that he has been allowing me to achieve. The touchdown is going to come in his timing, but today was a first down. I was finally able to make it to practice with my teammates. It’s great to be back for practices and meetings. Just to be able to feel a part of it means the world. So I’m working harder than I ever have to get back. I’ve been making strides over the past month and continue to make progress. Taking it day-by-day, but I’m far from done. The Lord has not finished his work yet.

Shazier, placed on Injured Reserve, will watch his Steelers host the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday in an AFC Divisional Playoff game. The contest will be broadcast live on News 3 at 1:05 p.m.