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Brian Cushing off crutches

Brian Cushing's recovery passed another major milestone as he retired the crutches and began weight-bearing exercise. On Tuesday, Cushing appeared on the Verizon Players show on Texans Radio walking slowly, but unassisted by the crutches he had been using for five weeks. Five days from now, he hopes to be on the sideline for Sunday's game against New England.

"I just started weight-bearing so that was a big step," Cushing said. "Really, anywhere between four and six weeks, Dr. (James) Andrews wanted me to start walking, getting a good feel about where I am right now and I think we'll see really good, positive results when we get that x-ray.  In two weeks I'll go visit him."

Dr. Andrews has done four surgeries for Cushing, including his ACL surgery from 2012 which Cushing refers to as "the roughest injury of my career." Dr. Andrews performed Cushing's most recent surgery on October 22 for his left LCL and a fracture in the same leg. Cushing is feeling good about the recovery and is optimistic about his return.

"I think OTAs will be no problem," Cushing said. "I would hope to be a lot earlier too. I am hoping that January/February, I think I've said before, is really the goal right now, to be 100 percent running, no restrictions, I think if anything, it just that knee brace just might be my best friend for the rest of my career and that's just how it's going to be."

Cushing was injured in the third quarter against Kansas City in Week 7 after a low hit by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. Cushing holds no grudges against Charles who reached out to him after the game via Twitter.

"Unfortunately, I had all my weight planted on that one leg and (it's a) freaking thing and that's how I look at it," Cushing said. "I'm just looking at it like two freakish injuries these past two years, honestly, and I'm hoping that's it. If I can have another ten, twelve whatever years then I'll get all the injuries out of the way now and that's how it is. Play clean, healthy football from here on out."

Cushing scored his first career touchdown in the season-opener at San Diego and logged a career-high 13 tackles against Tennessee in Week 2. Before his injury, he had 65 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble this season.


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