From the image it looks like the steering shaft may have pulled apart inside the boot. The piece between the two U-Joints is designed as a sliding shaft and it collapses in the event of a collision. In this case it likely pulled apart when the sub-frame dropped as it only goes together about an inch and a half. To check and repair it you will first want to center the steering wheel. Then go under the car and remove the rubber bellows from the rack end and reach in to see if the shaft is loose and flopping around. If it is there are a couple of ways to repair it, however as you already have had the bolts and cradle loose, lowering it again and putting the shaft together at that end may be easier. The other option is to remove the pieces around it and then remove the steering column, then with the column out you would remove the lower boot and disconnect the lower piece of the shaft and then re-couple them. Then re-install the column.
To do it from underneath you would unbolt the steering rack, then go inside the car and disconnect the boot that goes between the column and the firewall. With it out of the way you can mark (very important) and remove the upper bolt that goes through the intermediate shaft and upper steering shaft. Then with the rack down a bit you can mark and disconnect the lower coupler from the rack. Have the rack centered as well.
Now you should be able to put the shaft back together as it should have come out the bottom of the boot. With it together slide it back into the boot and onto the stub shaft on the rack in the same spot you removed it. Next put the rack back into place and secure it. Now go inside the car and put the upper coupler back on the upper steering shaft and slide the bolt in. Now you have an issue to determine the position of the clockspring. If you didn't turn the steering wheel more than a 1/2 turn or less when the steering stopped it may be okay, however it should be checked first. It isn't designed to go much farther than the steering stops to either side so if the wheel is off a turn it could easily break if turned.
For that you need to remove the steering wheel then the clock-spring which is under the wheel and covers.
Then re-center the clock spring. To do that will depend on which one you have but in general you start with the following already set up.
The wheels on the vehicle are straight ahead.
The block tooth (1) of the steering shaft assembly is in the 12 o'clock position.
The ignition switch is in the lock position.
Next you rotate the coil center clockwise until it stops, then rotate it counterclockwise 2 turns. That will center it. Some have a centering window, some have a lock and some have a mix of those or none. But two turns from the stop will get it close.
Then it slides back onto the steering shaft. If the front wheels are straight ahead the spring should now be centered, and you can replace all the pieces you removed and tighten it all back together.
Images (Click to enlarge)
Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 AT 1:52 AM