Cushing, who violated the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, served a four-game suspension for the same infraction back in 2010. At the time of the first suspension, he appealed and was denied.
Cushing, who announced in statement that he will not appeal the ban, cannot see on-field action again until Nov. 28.
The 2009 first-round pick has been with the Texans (0-1) for eight years, signing a six-year, $55.643 million deal back in 2013 that secured his place in Houston through the 2019 season. A one-time Pro Bowler (2009), Cushing posted 65 tackles in 13 games last year. He sustained a concussion in the Texans' season-opening loss to the Jaguars and was already ruled out for Thursday's game against the Bengals (airing exclusively on NFL Network at 8:25 p.m. ET).
While the Texans are strong enough across the defensive line to mask the loss of Cushing, they're also having to keep an eye on a dislocated finger J.J. Watt suffered the week before. Dylan Cole, a rookie undrafted free agent, saw nine snaps in relief Sunday and talked about stepping in for Cushing as an injury replacement earlier this week.
"I set high expectations for myself. Things happen in the NFL, people get hurt, people get dinged up but it's the next man up," Cole told The Houston Chronicle. "It's a professional sport. It's presented like that and it is what it is."
So it goes for head coach Bill O'Brien, who is juggling some heavy decisions at the quarterback position -- Houston set to start rookie DeShaun Watson on Thursday -- and now has to deal with one of his defensive leaders missing significant time as well.