STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Most of the position battles are settled, and the biggest question No. 11 Stanford had entering training camp — the status of top playmaker Ty Montgomery — has been answered.
Cardinal coach David Shaw said team doctors have medically cleared Montgomery to play in Saturday's season opener against UC Davis. He said Montgomery will have no limitations on where or how much he plays, not even with a big home matchup against No. 15 Southern California looming next week.
Montgomery, the team's leading wide receiver and an All-America kick returner, had surgery on his right shoulder in February after playing with the injury part of last season. He also hurt a knee in the Cardinal's loss to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, an injury Montgomery called "minor."
Shaw said doctors cleared Montgomery to play Monday, which is about a week earlier than expected. He had been held out of contact drills during training camp, and while Shaw has repeatedly praised Montgomery's abilities in practice, the team has been waiting for doctors to decide his availability for games.
"It's what he's been waiting for, it's what he's been training for," Shaw said. "He's just attacked the rehab in such a way that it's gotten him back a little earlier than we anticipated, and he's ready to go."
Montgomery is coming off a breakout season as a junior, leading Stanford in receptions (61), yards receiving (958) and touchdown catches (10). He also had 1,091 yards and two TDs returning kicks.
Shaw said Montgomery will not return every kickoff or punt this season, and it's likely he will not get many repetitions against UC Davis, which is expected to be a typical tuneup game for the two-time defending Pac-12 champions.
But just having Montgomery on the field before facing USC will ease the pressure on an offense that is integrating four new starters on the line and a new running back.
"I don't think any of us doubted that Ty was going to play," quarterback Kevin Hogan said. "He's been looking unbelievable all camp since the first day. You didn't notice any kind of rust at all, which is kind of scary. He's just such a great playmaker in all aspects of the game. We can put him in the backfield, out wide and he has that ability to change the game at any point."
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