Mississippi loses two starters

Updated: August 31, 2013, 12:52 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche is expected to be out for four to six weeks because of a torn meniscus in his knee, coach Hugh Freeze said Saturday.

Freeze also confirmed that starting offensive lineman Aaron Morris will likely miss the rest of the season because of a torn ACL. Morris, who started every game at left guard last season, will undergo surgery in 2-3 weeks, an Ole Miss spokesman told ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

Both injuries occurred during the Rebels' 39-35 victory over Vanderbilt on Thursday night.

The best-case scenario for Nkemdiche, who led the Rebels with 82 tackles last season, is a return against No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 28 in Tuscaloosa. He will miss games against Southeast Missouri State (Sept. 7) and at Texas (Sept. 14). The Rebels are off Sept. 21.

The loss of Nkemdiche is an especially tough blow for a defense that was inconsistent last season and struggled against Vanderbilt, giving up 426 total yards.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy contributed to this report.

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