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Ryan Shazier clarifies his status in recovery from spinal injury

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has clarified his status as he progresses in his rehab from spinal stabilization surgery.

Shazier used Twitter to call a report from NBC Sports' Michele Tafoya "100 percent correct" that his lower-body movement is a work in process.

"Although he does have movement in his legs, he is not walking on his own," said Tafoya, citing a source close to Shazier who said the linebacker wanted to clarify his status. "Shazier needs assistance from a walker or other people or to support him in his rehabilitation walking, which remains a struggle."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Shazier had begun a "walking routine" and was making "incredible progress." Steelers teammates and coaches have been moved by Shazier's vigorous rehab. On Dec. 4, officials rushed Shazier to a Cincinnati hospital after the linebacker was hurt on a tackling attempt. He underwent surgery on Dec. 6 in Pittsburgh.

Less than two months later, on Feb. 1, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center discharged Shazier from the hospital and cleared him for outpatient care.

Shazier posted social media pictures Thursday of him standing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, friends and family. He is also seen leaving the hospital in a wheelchair.

"I've had a lot of 1st downs at UPMC, but you know being the defensive guy I am, my mind is on 3 and out," Shazier wrote on Instagram. "I want everyone to know I'm moving on to the next step in the process. Today's a big day for me as I'm officially being released from the hospital."

Part of Shazier's rehab has included visiting teammates at the Steelers' practice facility. Shazier was around the team for several days during its preparation for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC divisional round.

Last offseason, the Steelers picked up Shazier's fifth-year option, which is guaranteed for injury at around $8.7 million.