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Ole Miss LB Denzel Nkemdiche out 4-6 weeks following surgery

Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, one of the Southeastern Conference's top sophomores, will miss 4-6 weeks following surgery to repair meniscus knee damage, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze told CBSSports.com.

Nkemdiche was injured in Ole Miss' thrilling Thursday night win over Vanderbilt, as was starting offensive lineman Aaron Morris. The older brother of heralded Rebels freshman Robert Nkemdiche, Denzel made 82 tackles last season as a freshman to lead the team. The younger Nkemdiche, a defensive end, played extensively in his college debut at Vanderbilt.

Denzel Nkemdiche, at a minimum, would miss the Rebels' marquee non-conference game against Texas, plus SEC games against Alabama and Auburn. The worst-case scenario would keep him out of home games against Texas A&M and LSU as well.

Suffice it to say the most favorable projection on his return will be a goal for the Rebels training staff.

Freeze said Morris will miss the season due to an ACL tear. Morris was among the Rebels' most experienced offensive linemen. With a heavy freshman influence already on the Ole Miss offensive line, the Rebels struggled in pass protection Thursday against the Commodores. Losing Morris will make protecting quarterback Bo Wallace even more difficult now.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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