FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2015, file photo, Clemson's Shaq Lawson looks on from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says he is "very optimistic" All-Americ
Richard Shiro, File
January 10, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Clemson coach Dabo Swinney expects starting defensive end Shaq Lawson to play in the national championship game against Alabama on Monday night.

Lawson, the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year and first-team All-American, hurt his left knee early in the Tigers' 37-17 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve. Lawson said Saturday there's still pain, but he wanted to play in the game.

Swinney said Sunday that Lawson ''looked good'' in the team's practice a day earlier. The coach said he could not be sure how effective Lawson might be until the game begins.

Swinney said Lawson has done ''everything that he needs to do'' to play in the game.

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