When the Pittsburgh Steelers play their first game of the 2018 NFL playoffs, they’ll have to do so without Ryan Shazier. The star linebacker’s season ended on Dec. 4 when an injury in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals forced him to be stretchered off the field and undergo spinal stabilization surgery.

It isn’t just that Shazier won’t return for Pittsburgh’s upcoming playoff run. No one seems to know when or if he’ll return to the football field, following the injury that sidelined him a month ago. Both the Steelers and Shazier’s family haven’t given many specifics of his recovery and it’s still unknown if he will be able to walk again.

The most recent update came from Shazier’s father four days before Christmas.

“We have seen some improvement that is encouraging,” Vernon Shazier told ESPN on Dec. 21. “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 that he could not provide details about his son’s injury.

“It's easy to be faithful in a storm, but we're not talking about a drizzle," Vernon Shazier said. "We're talking about a hurricane, a category 5 [hurricane], lots of metaphors to describe it.”

Ryan Shazier Ryan Shazier was injured while taking on the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 4, 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Two days later, Shazier visited the Steelers’ facility in a wheelchair, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Shazier has been in attendance at Heinz Field for the team’s last two home games, sitting in a private box.

Before Shazier got hurt, he was having the best season of his career. The former first-round pick was selected to his second straight Pro Bowl. The 25-year-old totaled 89 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles in 12 games.

Shazier helped Pittsburgh’s defense become one of the top units in football. After allowing fewer than 18 points per game with Shazier in the lineup, the Steelers gave up at least 24 points in three of their final four regular-season contests.

Pittsburgh is the AFC’s No.2 seed with a 13-3 record. They have a bye before the divisional round of the playoffs.