Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing expects to be back by the start of training camp, according to Nick Scurfield of the team's official website. Cushing, who is recovering from an ACL injury, said that he'll be cleared by Dr. James Andrews on July 17.
Of course, this is provided that there are no setbacks between now and then. If things go as Cushing plans, he should be ready for day one of Texans training camp, which starts July 26.
Cushing suffered the torn ACL on Oct. 8 last year, ending his season after just five games. It was a huge disappointment for the Texans, given that Cushing was among the top players at his position in 2011, and was Houston's MVP that year, as well.
A first round pick in 2009, Cushing is entering a crucial contract year. He'll be looking for a big payday once he wraps up his rookie deal this season. As reported by SB Nation's Battle Red Blog, Cushing and the team have yet to discuss a contract extension, which is likely due to the injury.
Waiting makes sense for both parties, as the team can make sure that Cushing is back to full strength and Cushing can make sure he gets the most amount of money possible. It's likely that Cushing will look for a contract similar to the deals signed by San Francisco 49ers inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
Willis, widely considered the top inside linebacker in the league, signed a seven-year, $53.5 million contract with $29 million guaranteed. Bowman earned a seven-year deal worth $46.4 million and $25.5 million guaranteed. Somewhere between the two seems a good spot for Cushing, provided he can return to form after the ACL injury.