AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn safety Zac Etheridge has been released from the hospital two days after suffering a serious neck injury in the Tigers’ 33-20 victory against Ole Miss.
“Our medical staff is optimistic he will make a full recovery,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said in a statement from the school.
Etheridge was immobilized after trying to tackle Rebels running back Rodney Scott in the first quarter Saturday. The crown of his helmet struck teammate Antonio Coleman in the shoulder.
He was taken to the East Alabama Medical Center for further evaluation before being transported to a Birmingham-area hospital Saturday night.
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Chizik said Sunday night the junior would miss the remainder of the season but offered little else about his condition. It was announced during the game that Etheridge had use of his extremities, and AuburnSports.com reported Sunday that Etheridge has been able to walk.
Chizik did not know if Etheridge would return to the football field in the future.
Etheridge had 52 tackles in nine games this season, fourth most on the team.
SEC honors McFadden, Coleman
Auburn cornerback Walt McFadden’s two interceptions against Ole Miss earned him SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, while Coleman’s disruptive play up front made him Defensive Lineman of the Week.
McFadden, a senior from Pompano Beach, Fla., also tied a career-high with five tackles and 1 1/2 tackles for a loss in the Tigers’ 33-20 upset of the Rebels.
He returned the first of his two picks 29 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to give Auburn a 24-7 lead. His second interception sealed the win, coming deep in Tigers territory with under three minutes left. He has four interceptions this season and seven for his career.
Coleman, a senior from Mobile, Ala., tied career highs with four tackles for a loss and two sacks. He also forced a fumble, had four quarterback hurries and a blocked kick.
The four tackles for a loss were the most by an Auburn player since Coleman did it against Georgia in 2007.