Cushing trying to reach Peterson’s ACL bar

Cushing trying to reach Peterson’s ACL bar
March 4, 2013, 9:00 am
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Cushing updates his ACL recovery in 1-on-1

Brian Cushing already said his ACL recovery has been ahead of schedule, now he wants to try to duplicate the success of Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson.

Charles and Peterson, two of the NFL’s best running backs, came back from ACL injuries in 2012 to have arguably their best seasons in the NFL.

Cushing saw those guys and wants to do the same.

“I just want to come back and be the same player, if not better,” Cushing told CSNHouston’s Marius Payton at a charity dinner on Saturday night. “I think a lot of guys see guys get hurt with ACL and don't know what to expect. You look at guys like Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, came back and had better years than probably they've ever had before. That's the bar they've set and that's the same bar I want to reach.”

The recovery is going well, Cushing said. He’s been jogging and said the next step will be full-speed running. He’s been working out five days per week.

Cushing 2012 season ended in Week 5 against the Jets when he was clipped by New York guard Matt Slauson. Slauson was fined $10,000 for the hit that ended Cushing’s season.

But what made the injury even worse for the Texans’ star inside linebacker is that he had to watch his team stumble into the playoffs and get bounced in the second round for the second straight season. The mental part of the injury might have been the toughest for Cushing.

“It was tough. It was very tough,” he said. “It was one of those things I wish I could have contributed to. I would have loved to. But I knew I wasn't able. I remember just getting hurt and realizing I wasn't going to play football this year and it was something tough for me to understand and to grip.”

We’re still months away from training camp and even further away from the start of the season but, as of now, Cushing is on track to return. In 2012 Cushing wasn’t the only inside ‘backer to get hurt for the Texans. By season’s end, Tim Dobbins and Darryl Sharpton joined him on the IR and mid-season pickup Barrett Ruud started in the playoffs.

Cushing said he’s had a lot of time to think during his recovery process. When asked what he’s learned, he said he learned he doesn’t want to get hurt again. The first step in that coming true will be for Cushing to be healthy when the 2013 season starts.  

“I just have to keep my goals short-term and most importantly not have any setbacks and just stay strong mentally,” he said. “It's very wearing but at the same time, like I said, I know every day's closer.”

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