Ole Miss LB Denzel Nkemdiche eager to return from injury

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Put me in, coach.

That's what standout Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is telling the Rebels' coaching staff with a key road game against defending national champion Alabama looming Saturday. Nkemdiche, just a sophomore yet one of the Rebels' top defenders, has been sidelined the last three weeks because of a knee injury he suffered in Ole Miss' season-opening win over Vanderbilt.

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Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, according to clarionledger.com, said his anxious linebacker has yet to be medically cleared.

"He says he's going," Freeze said. "(Tuesday), he's planning on practicing. We'll evaluate him in practice (today). I will not play him if I don't feel like he's ready. It's a long season. We're going to need all of the capable bodies to make it through. If he's ready to go, certainly we'll play him. It will probably be Friday before we know for sure."

If last year's Alabama-Ole Miss game was any indication, the Rebels need Nkemdiche back on the field against the Crimson Tide in the worst way. As a true freshman, Nkemdiche made 11 tackles against Alabama with three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a sack. Alabama won 33-14.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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