Ed Werder of ESPN has reported that Houston Texans‘ middle linebacker Brian Cushing is set to undergo surgery to his injured left knee in Pensacola, Florida this afternoon. This is the second surgery on Cushing’s left knee in as many years. The surgery will be performed by famed sports injury specialist, Dr. James Andrews.
Cushing tore his ACL in 2012, forcing the Texans to adjust defensively to losing one of their key players. They will have to do exactly the same in 2013, with Cushing’s new injury being a torn LCL with a fracture in the leg as well. Cushing was injured on a block by Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, and will likely suffer long-term effects after two similar injuries in such a short time-frame.
As described by ESPN, Cushing was a crucial element within the Texans’ defense, as they play an “attacking 3-4″ that emphasizes athleticism and the ability to blitz effectively from their linebackers. Cushing will be sorely missed within this 3-4, with the onus now falling on inside linebacker Joe Mays to up his level of play and to carry a defense that is now void of its tackle leader in Cushing (29).
The Texans signed Cushing to a 6-year, $55.6 million contract in the offseason, with $21 million of it guaranteed. Cushing is a warrior, and is expected to return next year with vigor, prompting Head Coach Gary Kubiak to state the following:
“I think he was playing at a defensive player of the year-type of level,” coach Gary Kubiak said Monday. Then here he goes again, he’s got to go through this. So I know it’s very difficult for him … [and] I know Cush will do everything he can to get back. But you hate to see anybody go through that especially twice now.”
Cushing reiterated his coaches thoughts, calming the nerves of the Texans fan base:
We’re looking forward to your return, Brian.