Cushing suffers a knee injury

Wire Reports

Houston's top draft pick, linebacker Brian Cushing, won't play in Saturday's exhibition opener against Kansas City because of a sprained left knee.

Cushing did not practice Wednesday and watched the team's workouts with a brace on the knee. Coach Gary Kubiak said no one was sure when Cushing was injured, but the knee started bothering the rookie Tuesday night and he had an MRI exam.

"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, a four-year starter at USC who was the 15th overall pick in the April draft, is expected to start at outside linebacker.

"We feel very, very positive that Brian's going to be ready to go for this season," Kubiak said.

Torain is waived

Denver waived Ryan Torain after he was diagnosed with a strained knee ligament, the latest in a series of physical setbacks for the second-year running back.

A fifth-round selection last year after an injury-plagued career at Arizona State, Torain broke his left elbow during training camp last year and played only parts of two games before a season-ending left knee injury.

Phillips cleared

The San Diego city attorney's office said 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.

Phillips was cited by police for misdemeanor battery after a security guard at the Ivy Hotel said the player hit him.

Trying out

Veteran linebackers Derrick Brooks and Derek Smith worked out for the New Orleans Saints, who are looking for help at the position after Mark Simoneau was sidelined because of a torn triceps that will require surgery.

Coach Sean Payton said the Saints intend to wait until after Friday's exhibition opener against Cincinnati before deciding whether to sign Brooks or Smith.

Brooks is a 14-year veteran and an 11-time Pro Bowl selection. He has played his entire career with Tampa Bay, which released him over the winter.

Smith has played for 12 years.

No funny stuff

Eric Mangini says his Cleveland Browns quarterbacks are competing, not cheating.

The radio transmitter inside Derek Anderson's helmet wasn't working in a Sunday scrimmage, so he used hand signals to relay plays. Anderson joked after the scrimmage that Brady Quinn told the defense what the signals meant.

Reporters at the scrimmage saw the two players laughing about it.

But that didn't head off several online reports suggesting Quinn was using underhanded tactics to win the starting job.

Mangini could only shake his head.

"Those guys are competitive and they're friends," Mangini said.

Little room left

The sprawling new $1.15-billion home of the Dallas Cowboys is nearly sold out for the 2009 season.

The team said that Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is 95% sold out.

The retractable-roof stadium has capacity of about 100,000 for football, with 300 luxury suites.

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