Linebacker Brian Cushing will miss at least this Saturday's preseason game at Kansas City with a left knee injury that the *Houston Chronicle *is calling a sprained lateral collateral ligament. Cushing had been the Texans' starting strongside linebacker from the moment the Texans drafted him 15th overall this April. At 6-3, 262 pounds, he's a big part of the Texans' defensive plans as a fierce, physical, run-stuffing presence that the team has lacked for years.
We'll find out official word on Cushing's status from head coach Gary Kubiak soon, possibly this afternoon. Regardless, Cushing's absence coupled with Cato June's swollen knee has prompted a lineup shuffle in the Texans' linebacker corps. Zac Diles, Kevin Bentley and Buster Davis all have new homes on the depth chart as of this morning, with Diles resuming his 2008 role as the starting strongside linebacker.
"That's pro football, and we rose to the occasion this morning and that's about opportunity, as I always tell you," Kubiak said.
Kubiak also said that he doesn't think the Texans have the luxury of adding a free agent linebacker to their roster. That means that players like Davis and Chaun Thompson, who were underdogs to make the roster as recently as two days ago, will have plenty of reps and opportunities to prove their worth for as long as Cushing and June are on the sidelines.