For the first time this season, it appears Virginia Tech will see its best and most experienced defensive back return to the playing field.
Antone Exum tore his ACL playing a game of pickup basketball in January and has spent the past several months rehabbing in an effort to return this season. There had been some hope that the cornerback would be healthy enough to play in the opener against Alabama but, obviously, that didn’t happen.
By way of the Roanoke Times, Tech defensive backs coach Torrian Gray stated during a radio interview Monday night that, according to a text from the player’s mother, Exum has been medically cleared to play. Exum had his knee checked out by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Florida, who gave the corner the medical thumbs up.
The senior has been practicing, albeit on a limited basis, for the past several weeks.
One of Exum’s replacements, Brandon Facyson, is currently tied for the most interceptions in the country with four. While Exum began his Hokie career as a safety before moving to corner last season — he was second-team All-ACC — Gray said there’s been no thought given to moving him back to safety even with the success of the young players who filled in.
“When he’s full-go, he’s going to play cornerback,” the assistant said.
While Exum has been medically cleared, Gray said “we’ll kind of evaluate him during the week and see how it goes and we’ll determine it from there.”
UPDATED 11:21 a.m. ET: Virginia Tech has released a statement confirming medical clearance for Exum.
“After eight months of right ACL reconstruction rehab, Antone Exum was cleared for full participation by Dr. James Andrews yesterday afternoon. He will return to practice this week without any restrictions and 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.“