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Houston Texans

Cushing has sprained knee; will not play Saturday


Rookie linebacker Brian Cushing will miss Saturday's preseason opener at Kansas City with a sprained left knee. Multiple media outlets have reported that Cushing has a sprained lateral collateral ligament and will be sidelined for at least two weeks.

The first-round draft pick out of Southern California watched practice on Wednesday with a brace and ice pack covering his knee. Cushing practiced on Tuesday, but felt soreness in his knee in the evening and underwent an MRI.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said that Cushing will likely remain in the brace for two-to-four days before further evaluation. Kubiak does not expect Cushing to be ready to play against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 22.

"We feel very positive that Brian is going to be ready to go for this season; we don't have any doubt," Kubiak said. "Right now, it's just a matter of settling down and getting going with the rehab process, and then probably we can start talking more in terms of days (or) weeks."

{QUOTE}Cushing, the Texans' starting strongside linebacker, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2007 while at USC. But on Wednesday afternoon, he said that his latest injury was caused by the wear and tear of camp and called it "no big deal."

"I'm not (worried)," Cushing said. "I've sprained my knee before. This is football. Little things like this are going to happen. It's preseason; I'll be healthy."

While disappointed to be missing practice, Cushing doesn't think that the injury will be a major setback for him. He is being counted on to be an integral part of the Texans' revamped defense under new coordinator Frank Bush this season.

"Physically, I am where I need to be," Cushing said. "I know that. And mentally, I'm out here with the team, I'm in every meeting with these guys. I don't see myself missing too much time. I'm getting to where I need to be, I'm happy about the progress I've made and I'm understanding the defense a lot better."

Linebacker Zac Diles has moved over to the strongside with the first team in Cushing's place. Diles had a team-leading 66 tackles at that spot in 2008 until he suffered a season-ending leg injury. He was working at weakside linebacker this offseason with Xavier Adibi before Cushing's injury.

"I've played there before, so that's not anything new to me," Diles said. "I'm just looking forward to going out there and having a good time on Saturday."

With veteran linebacker Cato June hobbled with a swollen knee, the Texans also have shifted linebacker Kevin Bentley from middle linebacker to the weakside to provide depth behind Adibi.

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