Darryl Sharpton to start in place of injured Brian Cushing

Darryl Sharpton will replace Brian Cushing at inside linebacker in the Texans’ starting lineup.

Sharpton will start next to Joe Mays.

Cushing will have surgery later this week and is done for the season. He suffered a broken fibula and torn LCL in his left leg in Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Chiefs.

The Texans will look for veteran depth on the inside. They have veteran Tim Dobbins, but he’s missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, and they don’t know when he’ll be ready. They also have Mike Mohamed, another undrafted rookie, providing depth.

General manager Rick Smith and pro personnel director Brian Gardner will be looking at veteran free agents to play on the inside.

Sharpton, who has always played well when he’s healthy, hasn’t practiced for the last two weeks because of injuries. He spends a lot of time nicked up, as coach Gary Kubiak likes to say.

Because rookie Willie Jefferson was placed on waivers, the coaches have moved another undrafted rookie free agent, Justin Tuggle, to the strong side to back up Brooks Reed. Tuggle played outside and inside linebacker in camp and developed well enough to convince the coaches to keep him.

Veteran Bryan Braman plays behind starter Whitney Mercilus on the weak side.

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