HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans' top draft pick, linebacker Brian Cushing, won't play in Saturday's preseason opener against the Chiefs because of a left knee injury.
Cushing did not practice on Wednesday and instead watched the workout with a brace on his knee. Coach Gary Kubiak said the knee started bothering Cushing on Tuesday night and he was taken for an MRI. It was not immediately clear how serious the injury is.
"I just know that we're in an evaluation process right now and we're not going to know anything for a few days," Kubiak said. "But he's going to miss some time."
Cushing, the 15th overall pick in the draft, is expected to start at outside linebacker. The four-year starter at Southern California led the nation's second-ranked defense with 10½ tackles for losses last year.
Houston shuffled its healthy outside linebackers on Wednesday to deal with Cushing's absence. Kubiak moved Zac Diles from the weak side to take over Cushing's spot on the strong side. That left Kevin Bentley, who has been the backup for DeMeco Ryans in the middle, as the starter on the weak side.
Diles, who is in his third season, started the first eight games of 2008 before breaking his left leg in practice.
"We rose to the occasion this morning and it's about opportunity as I always tell you," Kubiak said. "Zac makes an unselfish move for the team to go back and go to work at (strong side)."
After naming Cushing the starter almost immediately after the draft, Kubiak isn't looking forward to working without him.
"You hate to see him miss the time but he's going to be there," Kubiak said. "He's just going to miss some time right now. Naturally you want the group to stay together and work together, so we've got some problems from that standpoint, but that's life."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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