BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum will not be available when the Hokies start the season against two-time defending national champion Alabama on Aug. 31, head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said Monday.
Exum met with orthopedist James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., for a follow-up appointment after offseason knee surgery, hoping to be cleared for practice. But Goforth indicated the redshirt senior’s rehabilitation would likely extend into September and that Andrews will re-test Exum’s knee in “one and a half to two months.”
The team would like to have Andrews’s blessing since he performed Exum’s surgery.
“I’m very sad for him, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Goforth said. “Objectively, I think it’s the right thing.”
Exum, a second-team all-ACC selection last season, tore his ACL, lateral and medial meniscus and suffered a bone fracture in his right knee while playing pickup basketball on campus this past January. He initially talked openly of returning to the lineup to face the Crimson Tide, but admitted to being more “realistic” about his recovery in an interview last month.
Exum, who led the Hokies in interceptions a year ago, is currently six months removed from surgery and Goforth said this type of injury typically takes eight to 12 months to heal properly.
“He’s as focused as anyone we’ve had rehabbing,” Goforth said. “With the ACL, with the bone bruise he had, the microfracture procedure, that’s a lot right there. Plus a cartilage repair. I was thinking eight to nine- to 10-month deal, but obviously I wasn’t gonna tell him that.”
On a depth chart released ahead of the start of training camp, sophomore Donaldven Manning and freshman Brandon Facyson were listed as co-No. 1s at cornerback opposite returning starter Kyle Fuller. Fuller’s younger brother, All-Met Player of the Year Kendall Fuller (Good Counsel), is a co-No. 1 whip linebacker and will likely be a key cog in Virginia Tech’s nickel defense.