(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a back injury and was carted off the field after a head-first collision with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone during the first quarter on Monday.
Shazier slammed into Malone and immediately grabbed at his back while signaling for trainers to tend to him.
Steelers team mates kneeled around Shazier as he was strapped to a stretcher and taken off the field. The team announced that Shazier had been taken to the hospital for further evaluation.
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Shazier, 25, was the team's leading tackler through 11 games.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)