He didn't expect to practice on Monday and is shooting for a return to full speed by Wednesday.
Hairston suffered the MCL sprain in Clemson's 25-7 win over Boston College when the Tigers failed to pick up a yard on fourth-and-one nearly midway through the third quarter. He'll be needed on Saturday to help out against a nationally ranked Texas Christian squad and All-American defensive end Jerry Hughes.
"There's a lot of soreness in it," Hairston said. "In a sprained MCL, you're knee is just weak. You're not able to do everything needed to play good football."
He tried to get off the field as quickly as possible after the play. His trip back to the sideline was a painful one.
"I didn't want to lay down out there and have all of them come help me off the field," he said.
Although he was in a brace until the MRI results came back, Hairston is happy the injury wasn't as bad as it could have been. He could barely put weight on the knee while on crutches Saturday afternoon. With the swelling down and lots of treatment, he's now able to walk around with relative ease minus the crutches and knee brace.
But walking around doesn't necessarily mean he'll be ready for game day.
"We have to have a plan if he isn't ready," said offensive tackles coach Danny Pearman on Monday. "If he is ready, how long can he play? I think it's kind of day-to-day."
Like last week, Cory Lambert and Jamarcus Grant will work at left tackle and Landon Walker and David Smith are going to work at right tackle.
Not willing to play arm chair doctor, Pearman won't venture to guess as to what he thinks Hairston will be able to do.
"For us to predict the future of the injury is hard to do on Monday," Pearman said.
Outside of Hairston's injury, Hughes is the offensive line's biggest concern for Saturday.
"He's an extremely talented player. His accolades are well-documented and definitely deservingly so," Pearman said. "If you watch him on film he's an excellent player."
He believes Hughes is comparable to Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan, who ate up Clemson for three sacks in the first half of the Yellow Jackets' 30-27 win.
"Maybe the kid at Georgia Tech is a little bit heavier than this kid," Pearman said.
Hairston savors the chance to play against one of the nation's premier pass rushers.
"He's probably one of the hardest football players I've ever seen play," he said of Hughes.
"On film, he's relentless. He's a guy that's going to go after it."
Day to day
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