August 13, 2009
A Case of Bulk Gone Awry?
by Keith Weiland
Brian Cushing gave us all a scare today when news broke that he suffered a knee injury, serverity unknown but pessimism unhinged. In the hours since, reports have indicated that Cushing suffered merely a sprained ligament in his left knee. He could return later this month, in time for the all-(okay, semi-) important preseason clash with the Vikings.
Hooray and whew, right? Of course. According to more than a few fans, Cushing may have been an underwhelming first round selection by the team last April, but by all accounts, including my own from earlier this month for what it's worth, he has been a positive in offseason workouts and training camp practices. He's been all business since he arrived, and his dedication off the field toward perfecting his human form has been admirable.
Yes, Cushing is quite the raging fanatic about his health and physique, and these are terrific qualities for someone who earns a paycheck with his body. Over the years, he has employed a nutritionist, a trainer, and a hyperbaric chamber. But that's just the thing when it comes to injuries and Cushing. Is he, and has he, pushed his body too hard in crafting his Mr. Linebacker physique?
Who's to say for sure, of course, but when you ask this in light of his injury history dating back to his freshman year at USC, the speculation seems all the more legit to consider. And I won't even mention the steriod taunts that have chased him even as far back as high school. (Okay, sorry, I just did, but certainly worth noting here is that none of the rumors or allegations have stuck.)
His Herculean body seems unusually fragile though. To wit, Cushing has had reported injuries ranging from his shoulder (2005, 2006), to his hamstring (2007), his ankle (2007, 2008), and now his knee. Of course, it could be the result of bad luck or simple overwork, but has the added muscle slowly taken a toll on the young man's body?
Let's hope not. Watching the Texans defense this offseason has given us clues as to why they need Cushing's physicality and potential to make it work. No slight intended to Zac Diles and the other Texans linebackers, but the team has made a significant long-term investment in Cushing. Hopefully his well-crafted body is ready for the challenge.
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