The good news for the Texans, if there can be any on the day three-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt landed on IR, is that linebacker Brian Cushing could be back in the lineup, as soon as Sunday.
Cushing has returned to practice, two weeks and three days after injuring his MCL.
“It’s really good to get him back,” coach Bill O’Brien told reporters. “He looked good today. Moving around and looks like he’s ramping it up to be able to play in the game.”
O’Brien was noncommittal regarding whether Cushing will play against the Titans.
“The expectation is that he’s going to practice tomorrow and we’re going to see where that is,” O’Brien said. “Then he’ll practice Friday and we’ll see where that is.”
“[J]ust a lot of hard work,” Cushing said when explaining his ability to return so quickly. “I didn’t want to believe it would be four to six [weeks]. I’m not saying I’m all the way back yet. I’m not saying for sure what I’m doing, but I know I practiced today. I know I felt good. I’m happy about the progress, that’s for sure. I’ve been hurt too much in my career, in my opinion. It’s something that I don’t want to do anymore, or want to be, so anything I can do to get back and get out there as soon as I possibly can and be healthy and be effective, I’ll do. Just excited to be back out there with the guys.”
Cushing said there’s a “possibility” he’ll play Sunday, but that they’re “taking it day by day.”
The Texans may be a little hesitant to put Cushing back on the field so quickly, after what happened to Watt. But Cushing said that, structurally, his knee is “great.” If so, there’s no reason for Cushing to not play.