Even though he wasn’t allowed to actually play with his friends Friday Brian Cushing was one happy (training) camper.

Are you kidding? He was on a football field again doing football things while surrounded by football players. Heaven.

Football’s fun. Rehab isn’t.

“It just feels right to be back” Cushing said. “It’s been a long time. (Playing football) is something I’ve done my entire life. When you trust in your preparation so much you come out here and this is almost easy.”

Rehabbing – after surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered last October against the New York Jets on “Monday Night Football” – was a new experience. Also a difficult unpleasant one.

“Everything I’ve done rehab-wise is a lot harder than practice” Cushing said after the Texans’ first workout Friday morning. “It’s been a grind. It was not fun. It’s just a very redundant process and there are a lot of the same exercises over and over. You have to work six days a week. It’s a pain but it’s something that’s extremely necessary. It’s been a really tough couple months.”

A really tough nine months to be exact. Early in his fourth year with the Texans last fall the former first-round draft choice out of USC was on the cusp of a breakout season both personally and team-wise. In fact the Texans were 4-0 for the first time in franchise history when they arrived Oct. 4 at MetLife Stadium close to where he grew up. Because family and many friends were in the stands he was more stoked than usual which anybody who knows Cushing realizes is saying something.