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Sources: Deion Sanders expected to miss third Jackson State game

Recovering from foot surgery as well as an illness and a lengthy hospital stay, Sanders is not expected to coach his JSU Tigers Saturday at home.

For a third-straight week, the Jackson State football team is likely to be without head coach Deion Sanders.

Multiple sources, including within the Southwestern Athletic Conference, on Friday told FootballScoop that Sanders has endured an extended hospitalization and complicated recovery from his Sept. 22 surgery on his left foot and would miss the Tigers' home game against Texas Southern.

Jackson State's sports information department again refused comment to FootballScoop.

Jackson State, which has steadily risen in the American Football Coaches Association FBS Top 25 and currently sits 17th amidst a five-game winning streak, is 2-0 in the past two weeks with Gary Harrell as the Tigers' interim coach in Sanders' place.

Sources this week did emphasize to FootballScoop that "Sanders is improving and wants to coach and be with his team, but doctors are advising him not to rush his return."

Harrell's again handling all of Jackson State's in-person head-coaching duties this week, running meetings and practices along with the remainder of the Tigers' assistant coaching staff.

Earlier this week, as Harrell again filled in for Sanders on the SWAC's Monday video conference, the former Howard University coach discussed Sanders' recovery.

“Coach Prime is still getting better and better, every time I talk to him,” said Harrell, whom Sanders dubbed his “right hand” when Sanders first disclosed his leave of absence. “I talked to him (Sunday) night; I talked to him this morning, to update some things he wanted to make sure we keep incorporated and pretty much showing how proud he was, how proud he is of the staff and the players and how we're doing.

“He's doing well right now. I just try to leave anything as far as medical things, just try to let him make those comments when he gets back. When I talk to him, he's in great spirits and he's well engaged and he's continuously just helping us get better as we go throughout the weeks.”

Jackson State (7-1, 5-0 SWAC) is seeking its first league title in nearly 15 years, and if it wins the SWAC's Dec. 4 championship game, secures the program's first-ever Celebration Bowl berth.

Sanders' arrival atop the program little more than one calendar year ago continues to bring unprecedented media attention to the Tigers' program, which is seeing consistent television coverage and boasts the school's highest-rated recruiting class of all-time.

Texas Southern is 2-3 in SWAC play, coming off a 59-17 beatdown of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Saturday's game at Mississippi Veterans Stadium is Jackson State's annual Military Appreciation Day.