Mike Hilton and Robert Nkemdiche have not played in a game since the Texas A&M contest due to basically "twin" hamstring injuries. Denzel Nkemdiche rolled an ankle a couple of weeks ago and has missed action. Now, they are back and ready to roll.

"It feels good to be back. It's been hard not being healthy and out there helping my teammates," said Hilton, who Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack calls "on of our best football players."

But Hilton knew the score.

Injuries happen and the only course of action is to get well as soon as possible. No time for moping.

"Getting healthy was the only thing on my mind. I feel real good moving around," Hilton stated after Tuesday's practice. "I'm cutting full speed and running well. I'm a little sore, but it's OK."

Hilton's injury snuck up on him.

When it happened, against Texas A&M when he had the assignment of spying on Aggie QB Johnny Manziel, Hilton just thought it was a cramp from having chased around the elusive Heisman winner.

Mike Hilton
Chuck Rounsaville

"I didn't think I pulled it when it happened. I just thought I had been chasing him around all night and was cramping," he said. "An IV didn't help though and I knew it was a little worse than I thought."

Rest and treatment and more rest and more treatment was the only cure. There were no quick fixes.

With a leg injury, however, maintaining conditioning is the biggest issue.

"I will be able to go as long as they (coaches) need me to," he said. "My conditioning is not where it needs to be, but I will go as long as they call on me.

"I'm real proud of the young guys who stepped in while I was out. Derrick Jones has so much confidence and he did a great job. The thing with him is that he has picked up real quick what he's supposed to do and he just goes out and does it.

"It's good to have that kind of depth developing. We have options now and that feels good."

Mike expects to be tested against Arkansas. Not because of the injury but because of the style of play the Hogs present.

"They like to test the corners in the run game and see if you can tackle with their outside game. They force you to play a little closer to the box," he stated. "But I just have to play may game and everything will be fine."

Nkemdiche missed playing with his biological brother and his band of brothers, but all's well now.

"It feels real good to be back with my brothers and for most of us to be healthy for the stretch run," the elder Nkemdiche stated.

Denzel said the injuries to him and others has a silver lining.

"We had some guys who stepped up and grew up as men and football players when they had to," he stated. "Now, we are just deeper and better and that will help us all in the long run."

Nkemdiche is anxious to strap it on against Arkansas.

Robert Nkemdiche
Chuck Rounsaville

"They have a great run game. We have to stop the run, that's the emphasis, but as a defense, we like that kind of challenge," he said. "We will have to play smart and play like our hair is on fire.

"We like playing against a tough offense that wants to run the ball. It's man on man. We like it tough."

The media is not allowed access to true freshmen, so Nkemdiche was asked about "little brother" Robert's state of mind coming off his hamstring injury.

"He was discouraged, but he knew he'd get through it and it would not be like that forever," he said.. "It was humbling for him. He matured from the injury."

The timing for the return of the brothers Nkemdiche and Hilton couldn't be better.

The Rebs will be gunning for their sixth win of the year and bowl eligibility.

"This is a big game for us. We'll put it all on the line," Nkemdiche closed. "It feels good for us to be a bigger part of it again."

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