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Texans LB Brian Cushing leaves game with knee injury

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing did not return to Sunday's 23-14 win against the Chicago Bears with a knee injury.

Cushing suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain, a source told ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Cushing left the game early in the first quarter after Texans trainers looked at his knee. He went into the locker room and was initially announced as questionable to return.

Cushing has played in 30 of 32 regular-season games the past two seasons but missed time in 2012 after tearing his ACL and again in 2013 after tearing his LCL and breaking his leg.

Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said he does not know how long Cushing will be out, but that it's hard "any time you lose, basically, the heart and soul of your team."

"He's the tone-setter out there," inside linebacker Brian Peters said. "He obviously has the mic, he's making the calls and all that kind of stuff. But the dude plays with his heart on his sleeve. He's a stud and the tempo he plays with is contagious and all the guys follow his lead."

Cushing has played in 30 of 32 regular-season games the past two seasons but missed time in 2012 after tearing his ACL and again in 2013 after tearing his LCL and breaking his leg.

He had 100 combined tackles, including four for a loss and a forced fumble last season.

Inside linebacker Max Bullough replaced Cushing in the game.

"Hopefully [Cushing will] be back at some point," O'Brien said. "Max [Bullough] is a very bright player, B-Mac [Benardrick McKinney], those guys are good football player. We feel like we've built depth there, and it's next man up. That's the National Football League. Sometimes injuries happen. It's a tough, tough game and the next guy has to step up."