BLACKSBURG, Va. — In the days after he underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right knee last winter, Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum would lay in bed on his computer, scanning the Internet for other athletes who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and how long it took them to return.
A lifelong Washington Redskins fan from outside Richmond, Exum took solace in the success stories, such as the faster-than-expected rehabilitation of quarterback Robert Griffin III or the comeback authored by Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last season.
With that in mind, Exum made it clear he would return in time for Virginia Tech’s season opener against two-time defending national champion Alabama on Aug. 31, just seven months after he tore his ACL, lateral and medial meniscus and suffered a bone fracture in his right knee while playing pickup basketball on campus.
But a summer spent in Arizona rehabbing alongside Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis and living with former Hokies running back Ryan Williams, both of whom have suffered major knee injuries in the NFL over the past two years, has persuaded Exum to dial back that stance. His injury is different than simply an ACL tear, and as Revis pointed out to him, “Don’t overdo it and just take your time and come back when you’re 100 percent and can perform like you want to.”