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Christian Jones close to 100 percent, will be on "pitch count"

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The senior's health and usage will be one of the key storylines in camp.

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Northwestern wide receiver Christian Jones and head coach Pat Fitzgerald both say the fifth-year senior will be ready to go for fall camp, which begins Aug. 9.

Jones spoke to the media Friday for the first time since April, and said he's "very close to 100 percent."

Fitzgerald said Jones will be on a "pitch count" early on, meaning Northwestern will limit him, and have him take drills, or even full practices, off.

Jones tore the ACL in his left knee the second week of fall camp last year, during a practice in Kenosha. He redshirted, and is back for a fifth year in 2015.

Jones returned for spring practice on a limited basis, but was forced to undergo a second surgery on the same knee due to cartilage damage. On April 4, Jones told Inside NU he was out for around four months.

"I was at the workout yesterday morning, and he was getting after it," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald mentioned Jones as one of the most important players on the offense, especially when it comes to throwing downfield — something NU struggled with mightily in 2014.

"He's a difference maker," Fitzgerald said. "He's a mismatch size-wise. He's a mismatch from a standpoint of experience. It's going to be great to get him back out there."