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Brian Cushing: Texans LB out for season with torn ACL
Question of the Day
HOUSTON — Linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn left knee ligament, leaving the unbeaten Houston Texans without their top tackler and one of their emotional leaders.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday that Cushing has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery in two to three weeks, after the swelling subsides. Cushing was leading Houston in tackles (38) before Monday night’s game.
“A big blow for our team,” Kubiak said. “We have to have guys pick it up around him and we’ve got to find a way to move forward. We’re all just disappointed for him. It’s a tough day for him.”
The Texans (5-0) play Green Bay (2-3) in Houston on Sunday night.
Dobbins played his first four NFL seasons with San Diego, including one season under Wade Phillips, now the Texans' defensive coordinator. He was traded to Miami during the 2010 draft, released after one season and signed by the Texans in August 2011. He played in 15 games last season and four this year, mostly on special teams.
“He’s a veteran player, he’s played with Wade before,” Kubiak said. “It’s a lot to ask, but that’s why he’s here. It’s an opportunity for him as a player and we’ll have to rally around him and like I said, make up for Cush’s loss as a group.”
Another eventual option may be Darryl Sharpton, who was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list during training camp with a hip injury. By league rules, he can’t be activated until Week 7. The Texans have a bye week after playing Baltimore on Oct. 21, and Kubiak said he’ll have a chance to closely evaluate Sharpton then.
“If he was available to come off and help us today, he’s still not ready,” Kubiak said. “But we do have some more time on our hands. We are pushing him toward that date, here in a few weeks, to where we can get a good look at him and see. There’s still some progress to be made.”
No matter who steps in, Cushing will be hard to replace.
A first-round draft pick in 2009, Cushing was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He made 133 tackles that year, the second-most in the AFC behind Baltimore’s Ray Lewis (134).
Cushing again led the Texans in tackles last season (114) and also intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles. He’s only missed four games in his three seasons, all to serve a suspension for a positive test for a banned substance.
Cushing answered questions about it, and now ranks as one of the most respected players in the locker room.
“Those guys really look to him,” Kubiak said. “He’s an emotional leader, the way he plays, the way he works, the way he practices. Cush loves it all. That’s the thing about him. Guys feed off of that.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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