Earlier this year, middle linebacker Brian Cushing was lost for the year with an ACL tear in his left knee. With his loss, the Texans suffered a huge drop off at MLB with Tim Dobbins and Bradie James mounting the middle of the defense. As well as Cushing on injury reserve, reserve MLB Darryl Sharpton was placed on I.R. just a few days ago.
Going into the first week of the playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Texans may be facing another injury as Dobbins might join the bench as he has been battling a ankle injury. Not only does his injury further spread the depth chart thin, but Dobbins is also a special teams captain.
While the middle of the defense might have some trouble this coming Saturday, there are two bright spots to this week. Outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who has missed the last 4/5 games, is back on track as well. Defensive back Alan Ball is also back on track as he has also missed the last 5 games. The other bright spot is that Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been limited in practice after tweaking his hamstring last week during warmups. This caused him to be held out of last weeks game against the Baltimore Ravens. If the Bengals are forced to use their reserves, they could have a problem moving the chains.
While this is a problem, it’s better than it happens against the Bengals then other playoff teams such as the Ravens or Vikings; who have elite running backs. However, it still does not guarantee a victory this week or next. Injury management is a major component of the game, and making it deep into the playoffs gets that much harder.
- Antonio Furgiuele