Antone Exum available for Hokies

Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum has been cleared to play after an eight-month rehab on his injured right knee.

Head athletic trainer Mike Goforth said in a statement Tuesday that Dr. James Andrews cleared Exum to return to practice without restrictions.

Exum, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during a pick-up basketball game in January, is expected to continue rehabilitation for the remainder of the season. He has been limited to non-contact drills the last few weeks.

"His playing time for North Carolina [in Blacksburg on Saturday] 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 freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller at corner. Both have had strong starts to the season -- Facyson is tied for first in the ACC with seven passes defended and leads the conference with four interceptions, and Fuller has two interceptions and five passes defended.

Exum was a second-team All-ACC selection last season, starting all 13 games at cornerback.