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Exum not sure he’ll play vs. Duke; Thomas back to being healthy

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech senior cornerback Antone Exum said there’s no guarantee he will play the Hokies’ next game against Duke. Exum has missed the first seven games of the year after having offseason knee surgery.
He was medically cleared to play against North Carolina but opted not to play, saying he wasn’t fully healthy. Exum sat out Saturday’s 19-9 win over Pittsburgh as well, giving him the bye week to get to full strength.
But Tuesday, during a 30-minute sit-down interview, Exum said he can’t say for sure whether he’ll be ready to play when the No. 19 Hokies (6-1, 3-0 ACC) host Duke on Oct. 26.
“I’ll just say, we’ll see,” Exum told me Tuesday. “Taking it practice by practice, day by day. I have been progressing every day, I have still been working hard every day. I’ll just say we’ll see. I’m not putting any dates on anything anymore.”
Exum said he still expects to start when he returns, one of the reasons, he said, to not rush back.
Senior quarterback Logan Thomas said he’s getting closer to being fully healthy. Thomas has been battling a strained abdomen and sprained foot that have combined to limit his practice time. But Thomas said he was close to full speed last week going into the Pittsburgh game.
“I practiced all week last week,” Thomas said. “The foot was the only thing that was really bothering me last week. I didn’t do full speed running but other than that I did everything.”
Thomas said he still wears the protective walking boot on his right foot but that it’s almost completely healed.
“It feels a lot better, now that I’ve had some time off of it,” Thomas said. “I didn’t reinjure it Saturday so that was nice.”
He said the strained abdomen is 98-percent better.
“There’s still a little pain, just to the touch,” Thomas said. “But I have all my motion and all that stuff.”
Tech has won six straight games after losing its season opener to No. 1 Alabama, climbing back into the Top 25 rankings and establishing itself as a co-favorite in the ACC’s Coastal Division with Miami.
The bye week comes at a good time for the Hokies who are dealing with an assortment of nagging injuries, including junior center David Wang’s shoulder issue.
“Particularly in our offensive line, we’re kind of beat up,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said Monday. “We got our center snapping with his off hand during the week. Just beat up.”
Despite that, Beamer said he plans to let the first team offense and defense go head-to-head this week in practice as the Hokies try to correct the issues in their run game.
“We’re going to work against each other,” Beamer said. “We’re beat up but the only way I think to get better is to work our offense against our defense.”
Beamer said the coaching staff would use the end of the bye week and the weekend for recruiting.
“That’s the key, key part for us,” Beamer said.