Texans’ top draft choice injures knee

Houston’s top draft pick, linebacker Brian Cushing, won’t play in Saturday’s exhibition opener against Kansas City and could miss the second exhibition game as well because of a sprained left knee.

Cushing did not practice Wednesday and instead watched both workouts with a brace on his knee. Coach Gary Kubiak said no one is sure when he was injured, but the knee started bothering Cushing on Tuesday night and he was taken for an MRI.

“It’s no big deal,” Cushing said. “It’s a knee sprain. We’ll move forward and I’ll keep getting the mental notes and I’ll be healthy soon.”

Cushing, the 15th overall pick in the draft, is expected to start at outside linebacker. The four-year starter at Southern California led the nation’s second-ranked defense with 101/2 tackles for losses last year.

Kubiak said Cushing will wear a brace for two to four days to reduce swelling and that he’ll begin rehabilitation after that. He probably won’t be healthy in time to participate in Houston’s second exhibition game against New Orleans next weekend, but Kubiak doesn’t expect him to sit out past that game.

“We feel very, very positive that Brian’s going to be ready to go for this season,” Kubiak said. “We don’t have any doubt right there. Right now it’s just a matter of settling it down and getting going with the rehab process.”

Saints seek linebacker help

Veteran linebackers Derrick Brooks and Derek Smith completed workouts with the New Orleans Saints in Metairie, La., leaving coaches impressed but uncommitted to signing either one of them.

The club brought the two linebackers in for a look after Mark Simoneau’s torn triceps injury, which will require surgery. Head coach Sean Payton says the Saints intend to wait until after Friday night’s exhibition opener against Cincinnati before they decide whether to sign either Brooks, a 14-year veteran who was named to 11 Pro Bowls, or Smith, who played 12 years.

Extra points

Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans could miss the rest of the preseason with a foot injury. Coach Andy Reid says the starting left guard has a stress reaction in a bone in his foot just above the arch. … The sprawling new $1.15 billion home of the Dallas Cowboys is 95 percent sold out for the 2009 season. The retractable-roof stadium has capacity of about 100,000 for football, with 300 luxury suites. … New York Jets left guard Alan Faneca will miss the team’s preseason opener against the St. Louis Rams because of a broken finger. . … Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark is expected to miss Friday night’s preseason game against Minnesota and could be out until Monday with a slight concussion. … The Broncos waived oft-inured second-year running back Ryan Torain after he was diagnosed with a strained knee ligament. … Citing insufficient evidence to eliminate reasonable doubt, the San Diego city attorney’s office says Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips won’t be charged in a case in which he was accused of striking a security guard in the face at a downtown hotel in late April. … Tampa Bay punter Josh Bidwell will miss the Buccaneers’ exhibition opener Saturday against Tennessee because of a hip injury. The 10th-year pro had an MRI on Wednesday. The results were being evaluated.