"Brian was the emotional leader who's captain of the defense," McNair told Nick Scurfield of the team's official website. "We're excited about having him back."
Losing their best inside defender was a crushing blow to the Texans. No other linebacker on the roster could match Cushing's skills against the pass, and his absence weakened Houston's multiple-look pass rush.
Cushing's status might remain unpredictable heading into summer. He's a candidate to open training camp on the reserve/physically unable-to-perform list or perhaps the active/PUP list. We witnessed tremendous feats by players returning from major knee surgery this season (see: Adrian Peterson) and if Cushing regains his form, there's reason to believe the Texans' defense will again be among the best in 2013.