Virginia Tech DB Antone Exum (knee surgery) cleared to play

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Antone Exum was named MVP of Virginia Tech's Russell Athletic Bowl win against Rutgers. (USATSI)
Antone Exum was named MVP of Virginia Tech's Russell Athletic Bowl win against Rutgers. (USATSI)

Virginia Tech defensive back Antone Exum will return to practice this week and has been cleared to play against North Carolina on Saturday.

Exum underwent knee surgery in January after suffering an injury during a game of pick-up basketball. The All-ACC cornerback started 13 games in 2012, rising to the top as one of the league's best defensive backs while the Hokies offense struggled and the team finished 7-6.

"After eight months of right ACL reconstruction rehab, Antone Exum was cleared for full participation by Dr. James Andrews yesterday afternoon," Hokies head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said in an official statement.

"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."

In addition to easing Exum back into game shape, the question for defensive coordinator Bud Foster is how to work the talented senior into a defensive backfield that has excelled so far this season. Freshmen Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson have played exceptionally during the Hokies 4-1 start.

Facyson is tied for No. 1 nationally with four interceptions, and leads the ACC (along with Kendall's older brother, Kyle Fuller) with seven passes defended. Kendall Fuller has two interceptions on the season and five passes defended.

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