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Denzel Nkemdiche to suit up for Ole Miss vs. Alabama

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The Rebels' top defender from a year ago will make his return from knee surgery this Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

The Ole Miss defense will certainly need all the help it can get as they try to slow down the nation's top-ranked team Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

Turns out, they're getting some.

Multitalented defender Denzel Nkemdiche, sidelined for the past two games with a knee injury, will make his return to the field this weekend against No. 1 Alabama, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.

Hugh Freeze told Feldman that Nkemdiche, a safety/linebacker hybrid who holds down the "stinger" position in Dave Womack's 4-2-5 defense, won't be getting the start on Saturday, but will be a significant contributor in the game.

That the elder Nkemdiche would play has been rumored all week, but this is the first official word we've heard. It's a big lift for the nation's 33rd-ranked defense, who will need to find a way to slow down an offense that is averaging over 38 points per game.

The sophomore defender, who was named a Freshman All-American last season, was injured in the opening win over Vanderbilt and underwent surgery for a torn miniscus shortly thereafter. The initial prognosis pointed to a six-week recovery period that would have put him back on the field in mid-October, around the LSU or Texas A&M game.

Apparently Denzel doesn't give a damn about that initial prognosis and seems to have recovered with the same speed at which he flies around the football field.

In last season's loss to the Crimson Tide, he racked up a season-high 11 tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and two forced fumbles.