Houston Texans middle linebacker Brian Cushing will miss the remainder of the 2012 season with a torn ACL.
The Houston Texans tweeted out the news.
Kubiak: LB Brian Cushing has a torn ACL, is out for yr. Will have surgery when swelling goes down.— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) October 9, 2012
Cushing was injured during the Texans' victory over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football when Jets guard Matt Slauson cut-blocked the linebacker. Cushing stayed on the ground and was clearly in considerable pain after the play.
This type of block is not illegal, but many players and fans view it as a dirty play. The reason it is frowned upon is because of injuries such as the one Cushing suffered.
The fourth-year player out of USC has successfully transitioned to middle linebacker in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense after starting his career playing outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.
Cushing was the 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year before Phillips arrived. Last season, he was selected as one of the inside linebackers on the NFL All-Pro second-team defense.
This year, he had racked up 29 total tackles, forced one fumble and defended two passes, helping the Texans become one of the NFL’s elite defenses.
The team ranks in the top 10 of nearly every statistical category on defense through five games and has allowed the third-fewest yards per game in the NFL.
When Cushing went out, Tim Dobbins filled his spot. According to Jon Marks of the Houston Chronicle, Dobbins and Bradie James will play inside linebacker in Cushing’s absence.
This is the first thing to go terribly wrong in an otherwise perfect season for the Texans, and the team will certainly miss Cushing’s energy and athleticism at the heart of its defense.