Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum has been cleared to play after an eight-month rehab on his injured right knee.
In a statement released Tuesday, head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said Dr. James Andrews cleared Exum to return to practice without any restrictions. Exum, who tore his ACL in a pickup basketball game last January, is expected to continue rehabilitation for the remainder of the season.
"His playing time for North Carolina and all future games will be determined by how well the right knee tolerates practices this week and how quickly he re-establishes pre-injury cardiovascular endurance and pre-injury skill levels," Goforth said.
Without Exum, Virginia Tech has relied on two freshmen: Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller. Both have had outstanding starts to the season. Facyson is tied for first in the ACC with seven passes defended and leads the league with four interceptions. Fuller has two interceptions and five passes defended. It will be interesting to see how the Hokies incorporate Exum back into the lineup given how well Facyson has played in that spot.
Exum was a second-team All-ACC selection last season, starting all 13 games at cornerback. He does have starting experience at safety, but it appears that Virginia Tech plans on keeping Exum at cornerback. On Monday night, Exum expressed his happiness on Twitter:
1. THE DAYCARE IS NOW OPEN! #COMEPLAYpic.twitter.com/jGx1Pw6H1e
— Antone Exum Jr. (@IAmSwag1) September 30, 2013