Cushing focuses on health after injury

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm •  Published: October 12, 2012
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HOUSTON (AP) — Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is focused on his recovery in the wake of a season-ending knee injury.

Cushing, Houston's leading tackler, was hurt in the Texans' 23-17 win over the New York Jets on Monday night on a low, rolling hit by guard Matt Slauson. He was placed on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Cushing had a protective black sleeve over his left knee when he walked into the locker room on Friday. Tim Dobbins will start in his place when the Texans (5-0) play Green Bay (2-3) on Sunday night.

"It's all part of the game," Cushing said. "The next step is just to get healthy, get back on the field as fast as I can."

A first-round draft pick in 2009, Cushing has no timetable for the necessary surgery or a return to football activities. He plans to attend as many team meetings and practices as possible while he recovers.

"I want be around, I want to be here for the guys, and help them the best I can, whether it's in spirit, or coaching tips or whatever," said Cushing, one of the team's emotional leaders. "I've got a new role now, and I've accepted it."

Slauson was not flagged on the play, but he was fined $10,000 this week by the NFL. Cushing wouldn't say if he thought Slauson's hit crossed the line.

"Whether it was or it wasn't, I'm not playing for a while," Cushing said. "That's not going to change my opinion on anything. I'm not a guy that's going to look back at the past and see what I could've done differently. I'm going to look into the future and see how I can improve."

Cushing has only missed four games in three NFL seasons, and that was to serve a suspension in 2010 for a positive test for a banned substance. His last major injury came during his junior season at Southern California, when he missed three games with a sprained left ankle.

"When you sign up for this game, I understand this is part of it," Cushing said.

The Texans' defense ranks third overall (275.6 yards per game), and Cushing has been its top playmaker under second-year coordinator Wade Phillips. He led the team with 114 tackles in 2011 and had an interception and a forced fumble to go along with his 38 stops this year.



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