Texans inside linebacker
The team’s 2011 MVP and defensive captain tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Oct. 8 at the New York Jets.
“He’s doing great,” Texans chairman and CEO Bob McNair said Tuesday in his office at Reliant Stadium. “His rehab is going great. He’s ahead of schedule. He’s doing fine.”
Cushing had surgery on Oct. 25 with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. He has been rehabbing at Reliant Stadium ever since. Training camp will begin in late July, about nine months after Cushing’s surgery. The 2013 season kicks off on Sept. 5, more than 10 months after the operation.
“We need to recognize that with the type of injury he had, players when they first come back form that type of injury, they’re not gonna have quite the same speed that they had before the injury,” McNair said. “It takes some time. It might take him six months, it might take him all year, before he’s back to where he was before the injury. But he’ll still be out there; he’ll still be playing hard. He’ll be a great addition to our defense… but these things take time. A lot of times, people think, ‘Well, he’s gotten his medical clearance, he’s gonna come back and automatically be just the way he was before.’ And it doesn’t work that way.”
Cushing led the Texans in tackles in two of his first three seasons. The 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year had a team-high 30 tackles before he was injured this season. The Texans’ defense ranked first in points (14.0/game) and yards (273.0) allowed with Cushing through Week 4 and 18th in scoring (22.9) and 13th in yards (340.0) in Weeks 5-17.
A healthy Cushing paired with 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
“It means a lot,” McNair said of Cushing's return. “Number one, Brian was the emotional leader who’s captain of the defense, and he just had this great enthusiasm and spirit and it lifted the other players on the team and they played better. It wasn’t just the loss of a guy in one position; it was also a reduced enthusiasm perhaps on the part of other players around him. To get him back is really good.
“We’re excited about having him back.”