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Saban gives update on Minkah Fitzpatrick

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban is many things, a doctor isn’t one of them. The head coach made that clear when he was asked about the status of injured defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick on Wednesday.

“I’m not a doctor, and one of the most difficult things to do as a coach is to coach injured players because you ask me if I think he’s close to full health,” Saban said. “I mean, again, have you seen that series on TV called ‘The Good Doctor’ where that guy is really, really smart and he figures out things that nobody else can figure out? I’m not there, if I was I’d be working in that hospital probably.”

Fitzpatrick injured his left hamstring defending a deep pass in the first quarter of Alabama’s 24-10 win over LSU last week. He returned to the game in some packages where he was deployed close to the line of scrimmage but spent the majority of his time on the sidelines.

Fitzpatrick was limited during Monday’s practice but returned to action Tuesday and Wednesday. The junior has worn a hamstring-support strip on his leg during practice but seems to be moving well. Going up against fellow defensive back Tony Brown during coverage drills Wednesday, Fitzpatrick showed off his athleticism, gliding down the field before intercepting a ball with one hand.

“He’s done well in practice,” Saban said. “He’s worked, he’s got his reps, so he’s going to be prepared for the game and we’ll make a decision whether he thinks he can do his job when the time comes.”

Brown also picked up what appears to be a hamstring injury against LSU and was seen wearing a support strip during practice. He is also expected to be available for Saturday’s game. If Minkah is unable to go at Star, Brown would most likely be first in line to replace him.

When asked about Brown, Saban said the senior can be an “effective player” if he is able to stay focused and make good decisions.

“He’s probably going to get more opportunities in the future to play,” Saban said. “I’m hopeful that we’re going to spend every bit of time that we can with him to try and get him to do the things the way he needs to do them so he can be successful. I think he wants to be successful, we just got to help him do it.”

Saban also said backup cornerback Nigel Knott will be out against Mississippi State. Knott was seen on crutches during practice on Wednesday.

No. 2 Alabama will travel to No. 16 Mississippi State on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

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