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Brian Cushing appears ahead of schedule with rehab on knee

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com
Months after suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Jets, Brian Cushing is ready to return to jogging next week.(US Presswire)

Only several weeks of the 2012 NFL regular season had elapsed when Brian Cushing's season ended prematurely on one of the most controversial plays of the year.

In Week 5 on Monday Night Football, the Houston Texans' middle linebacker pursued Jets running back Bilal Powell on a second-quarter end around when he was undercut below his left knee on a legal cut-block by Jets' offensive guard Matt Slauson. Cushing hit his head into the MetLife Stadium turf in frustration and limped off the field with the help of trainers.

Now, months after undergoing surgery on his torn ACL, Cushing appears to be ahead of schedule in his recovery.

“I'm about a week out of jogging right now,” Cushing said, via, Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com. “It's been a long, long journey and I have a lot go but it just makes me cherish playing that much more.”

Beset by injuries at middle linebacker, the Texans started Barrett Ruud at linebacker in a 41-28 loss to the Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Ruud was the fourth Texans' player to start at middle linebacker after season-ending injuries also sidelined Darryl Sharpton and Tim Dobbins. The Patriots took a commanding 38-13 lead early in the fourth quarter when running back Shane Vereen defeated Ruud on a 33-yard touchdown catch along the left sideline.

Cushing, an outspoken leader on the Texans' defense, had 30 tackles on the season at the time of his injury. The Texans allowed an average of 118.5 rushing yards per game in their final six games of the season. With Cushing in the lineup, Houston only allowed 100 yards of rushing once in five games.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow Matt Rybaltowski @mattrybaltowski.

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