Irving won't be limited in practice

Updated: February 26, 2010, 2:28 PM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

North Carolina State starting linebacker Nate Irving, who missed all of last season while recovering from injuries he suffered in a one-car crash, said he has been cleared for full participation in spring practices and won't be limited.

"I've been cleared, so I think I can come back out, contribute and help some of the guys out if they have any questions or with leadership," Irving said. " ... I just want to provide what I can for the team."

Irving was arguably the Wolfpack's top defender in 2008, but he fell asleep at the wheel while driving home on Interstate 40 last June and lost control of his car. Irving suffered left open fibia and tibia fractures in his left leg and separated the AC joint in his left shoulder.

Irving has averaged 8.7 tackles per game in 12 career starts and has 136 career tackles. He missed a third of the 2008 season with an injury but still led the team with four interceptions -- the highest total ever by a Wolfpack linebacker. He also led the team in tackles in five games.

Irving said it wasn't until last month that any lingering pain in his leg finally subsided, and it was about two or three weeks ago that he started running again.

The Wolfpack begin practice on March 9.

Heather Dinich covers the ACC for ESPN.com.