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October 9, 2012

Texans LB Cushing out for season with torn ACL

(Continued)

HOUSTON — Another eventual option may be Darryl Sharpton, who was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list during training camp with a hip injury. By league rules, he can't be activated until Week 7. The Texans have a bye week after playing Baltimore on Oct. 21, and Kubiak said he'll have a chance to closely evaluate Sharpton then.

"If he was available to come off and help us today, he's still not ready," Kubiak said. "But we do have some more time on our hands. We are pushing him toward that date, here in a few weeks, to where we can get a good look at him and see. There's still some progress to be made."

No matter who steps in, Cushing will be hard to replace.

A first-round draft pick in 2009, Cushing was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He made 133 tackles that year, the second-most in the AFC behind Baltimore's Ray Lewis (134).

Cushing again led the Texans in tackles last season (114) and also intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles. He's only missed four games in his three seasons, all to serve a suspension for a positive test for a banned substance.

Cushing answered questions about it, and now ranks as one of the most respected players in the locker room.

"Those guys really look to him," Kubiak said. "He's an emotional leader, the way he plays, the way he works, the way he practices. Cush loves it all. That's the thing about him. Guys feed off of that."

Kubiak said Cushing "was in pretty good pain" on the field on Monday night, and seemed to realize the severity of the injury. The team talked about losing Cushing at halftime, then made just enough plays in the second half to survive a gritty effort by the Jets.

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