Brian Cushing could be sidelined for the foreseeable future with a left knee injury. (George Bridges/MCT via Getty Images)
A little more than a year after suffering a torn left ACL on a low block, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing again had to be carted off the field with a serious injury.
The NFL Network's Albert Breer reported that Cushing tore his LCL and broke his leg on a low block by Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. Breer added that Cushing's ACL, which had to be surgically repaired after his 2012 injury, was not damaged. Regardless, Cushing likely will land on injured reserve and be forced to miss the remainder of the season.
Cushing's latest injury occurred in the second half of Sunday's Houston loss (the team's fifth straight setback). The play was within the rules, as Charles was attempting to pick up a pass-rushing Cushing, who was not engaged with any other blocker at the time. Unfortunately for Cushing, his foot planted just as Charles made contact with his lower leg, causing it to hyperextend. (GIF here via FauxJohnMadden.com, but be forewarned that it's tough to watch.)
The Houston star clutched his left knee, then ripped his helmet off before trainers arrived to attend to him. He later was carted to the locker room.
Cushing's injury last season occurred on Oct. 8, in a game against the Jets. It was New York offensive lineman Matt Slauson who delivered the agonizing blow then, on a play that's now illegal. As Cushing attempted to chase a ball carrier down, Slauson peeled back and dove at the knee of an unsuspecting Cushing. Such a block used to be allowed within the boundaries of the tackle box, but the NFL moved to outlaw it all over the field prior to the 2013 season.
The 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year and arguably the Texans' most important defender behind J.J. Watt, Cushing recovered from that Slauson hit in time for the start of this season. The Houston defense never really recovered from his absence in 2012, though, up to and including a playoff loss to the Patriots in which the defense allowed 425 yards and 41 points.
The Texans announced once Cushing left the game that he would not return. Further tests no doubt will be in order in the coming hours to determine if the 26-year-old linebacker has suffered yet another major injury.