The left knee injury that will sideline Texans linebacker Brian Cushing for the rest of the season wasn’t a dirty play, said Jets left guard Matt Slauson, who has been vilified over the last 48 hours for his role in causing the injury.
The play happened in the second quarter when Slauson went at Cushing below the knee, chopping the former Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) star. Cushing led the Texans with 29 tackles this year.
“It’s unfortunate, but it happens,” Slauson said.
Slauson is known as a feisty and physical offensive lineman, but not necessarily a dirty one, so seeing what looks like an obvious chop block from him was rather surprising. Slauson said it wasn’t intentional.
“Absolutely, I wasn’t trying to hurt him obviously,” Slauson said. “I must have just come by surprise but unfortunately things like that happen.”
Despite the injury to Cushing, a Pro Bowler in 2009 and an All-Pro last year, Slauson didn’t come across as having any regrets for the play, just the outcome and the resulting injury.
“I don’t know why this is a big deal. I feel bad that Cushing got hurt; that wasn’t my intent at all,” Slauson said. “I’ve got to do my job.”
Yesterday, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews tweeted, “If the NFL really wants to increase player safety, start protecting players on BOTH sides of the ball.” Matthews was a teammate of Cushing when the two played their college football at USC.
When asked for comment on Matthews’s tweet, Slauson just shook his head.
Hill back from injury
A rare bit of good news came from the Jets on Wednesday as wide receiver Stephen Hill practiced, perhaps paving the way for him to play on Sunday against the Colts.
Hill went down with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ Week 3 overtime win in Miami, attempting to make a play on a badly thrown deep ball. He’s missed the last two games for the Jets, both losses, and he would be a big return for a receiving corps that has been hit with injuries. Wednesday presented a significant step forward in terms of the health of Hill.
“I just did a couple plays here and there, but I did practice,” Hill told Metro.
Although he’s played just three games this season, Hill still has five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. With the loss of Santonio Holmes two weeks ago to a foot injury, Hill is very much needed for a Jets passing offense that is ranked No. 28 in the league. He can stretch the field and his long frame would be a nice target for quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has four straight games with a completion percentage under 50 percent.
He’s also a tremendous downfield blocker.
“Realistically? I’m probably going to play on Sunday,” Hill said.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.