But he would have been lying to himself and everyone else that he was ready to play because his left MCL sprain still hasn't completely healed. Hairston admitted he would have only been at around 75 or 80 percent. That, he said, could have potentially been a let down to his teammates.
"I didn't want to go out there and hurt the team by not being at 100 percent and playing against a good defensive line," he said.
Hairston continued receiving treatment at the hotel Saturday morning before heading to Death Valley. After he finished warm-ups, the knee began to tighten up, thanks to the rainy weather. Once he was scratched from the lineup, he changed gears from player to coach/cheerleader.
"They told me to sit down but I had to get up and watch what was going on so I could help where I could help and do what I could do to help the team," he said.
Thoughts about sitting out this Saturday's game at Maryland haven't crossed Hairston's mind. With a bye next week, that's not weighing an option, unless he doesn't feel ready and able to go.
"It doesn't matter who we're playing or what we are doing," he said. "It's about getting back here to 100 percent and getting back playing football."
On Monday, he practiced but didn't see any live contact against the scout team and hopes to be back at "full go" by Tuesday or Wednesday.
The knee's still sore after lots of time on it but icing takes care of the pain. It's still about 75-80 percent healthy.
"It's a little stronger. I've gotten a few more treatments in," Hairston said. "I'm not 100 percent yet, but I think by the end of this week, by a few more treatments and a few more days, I'll be closer and closer to 100 percent."
Despite Maryland's 1-3 record, he knows Saturday will be no walk in the park.
"They always bring their a game against us. It's been 5-5 the last 10 years and it's a game that we have to up there prepared and focused to win," Hairston said.
Hairston working to get back
CUTigers.com Top Stories
RECRUITING RADAR: ACC CHAMPS!In our weekly Recruiting Radar, CUTigers Recruiting Analyst Gary McDaniel updates you on the latest news and intel on the Clemson recruiting front!
CUTigers.comYesterday at 3:12 PM
SPECIAL OFFER: 15% OFF FIESTA BOWL TICKETS!NOW THROUGH MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY ONLY: 10% ticket discount for CUTigers.com Premium Members is increased to 15%!
CUTigers.comMonday at 12:33 PM
ACC CHAMPIONSHIP POST-GAME INTERVIEWSWatch Dabo Swinney, Deshaun Watson and more Clemson coaches and players discuss their second consecutive ACC Championship on Saturday night!
CUTigers.comSunday at 11:18 AM
PLAYOFF REPEAT FOR TIGERS#2 Clemson will join Alabama as the only two programs to make repeat trips to the College Football Playoff.
CUTigers.comSunday at 10:10 AM