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LB Nkemdiche improving, still in hospital

As of Thursday, Denzel Nkemdiche was still being held in a local hospital, but Ole Miss’ senior linebacker’s condition has “improved” and is not life-threatening, Nkemdiche’s parents, Beverly and Sunday Nkemdiche, and head coach Hugh Freeze said in a joint statement.

They also said Nkemdiche won’t play Saturday against LSU.

“Denzel’s condition has improved as of today, and he will remain in the hospital,” Nkemdiche’s parents and Freeze said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “His well-being is all that matters right now, and we are making sure he receives the highest level of medical care.”

Nkemdiche was admitted to Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford earlier this week for undisclosed reasons, according to a report by RebelGrove.com, and is being held in the hospital’s intensive care unit. When reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, a hospital spokesperson told the EAGLE nobody by that name was shown to have been admitted to the facility, though patients’ names can be removed from the hospital’s registry to remain private at their request.

Freeze said after the Rebels’ practice Wednesday that Nkemdiche, the older brother of All-American defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, was dealing with “a personal matter that he and his family are kind of going through” without getting into specifics.

“We’re going to walk through it with him,” Freeze said.

The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Nkemdiche leads the Rebels with 53 tackles. Sophomore DeMarquis Gates, who’s third on the team with 48 stops, will get the start in Nkemdiche’s place with Tayler Polk, Ray Ray Smith and Temario Strong also likely to get snaps.

Neither Nkemdiche’s parents or Freeze said when or if he would play again this season.

“We thank the Ole Miss family for their concern and encouragement, and we appreciate everyone respecting the family’s privacy during this time,” they said in part of their statement.