Ole Miss freshman tight end DaMarcus Thomas had to be airlifted to the hospital after sustaining a serious injury during practice on Monday that initially left him without any feeling in his body.

Coach Lane Kiffin was visibly upset as he met with reporters during his regularly scheduled news conference, saying Thomas was “potentially severely injured.”

After his initial comments, in which he said Thomas “was hit and hasn’t moved since,” Kiffin came back to say that Thomas has regained some movement and feeling in his body.

“I don’t know what that means exactly,” Kiffin said, “but it sure feels like great news compared to what it was.”

Ole Miss assistant athletic director Pat Jernigan said in a statement Monday afternoon, “Evaluations have all been positive to this point. He has regained movement in all of his extremities, and the physicians are optimistic,”

Kiffin said practice was stopped early.

Kiffin said he found himself thinking about his own kids as trainers were asking Thomas whether he could feel anything on his body and he said no.

“Hopefully this is some severe stinger,” Kiffin said. “I did ask the medical staff and they said that does happen sometimes. So praying somehow that’s what it is.”

All of the players remained on the field waiting for the helicopter to arrive.

Thomas, 18, is from Whatley, Alabama. He has appeared in five games this season.

“If you saw what I saw, you wouldn’t be worried about whether he was going to play or not,” Kiffin said.

Thomas, a three-star prospect, signed with Ole Miss over offers from South Alabama, Southern Miss, Tulane and others.

Ole Miss is coming off a 54-21 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday, improving to 2-4 during Kiffin’s first season as head coach.

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