By now, you've heard all about No. 1 Alabama's depleted linebacking corps.

Outside linebackers Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis haven't played sine the season-opening win over Florida State, middle linebacker and unsung hero Shaun Dion Hamilton injured his knee in the win over LSU earlier this month, and fellow inside linebacker Mack Wilson suffered a foot injury in that same game.

Help could be on the way soon in the form of Miller and Lewis -- both of whom were thought to be out for the year. reported Thursday morning that Miller (torn biceps) is expected to play in the de facto SEC West title game next week at No. 6 Auburn, and Lewis (elbow) is close to coming back, but the SEC Championship Game is the most likely return date as of now as long as the Tide topples the Tigers and qualifies as the representative of the SEC West. 

It's huge news for a Crimson Tide team that gave up 172 yards and three rushing touchdowns in the narrow escape vs. Mississippi State last week -- a game in which the Bulldogs were clearly not intimidated by the typically stout Tide defense. 

That's Mississippi State, not Auburn or Georgia -- both of which are significantly better on the ground than the Bulldogs. 

Auburn is averaging 236.7 yards per game on the ground, 5.04 yards per play and boasts a Heisman Trophy candidate running back in Kerryon Johnson. The Bulldogs boast the SEC's second best rushing attack at 256 yards per game; they're also third in the conference at 5.53 yards per play on the ground and have a dangerous one-two punch of seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.

Miller's return will help in that department against an Auburn team that pounds it inside but also forces eye discipline by linebackers with its east-west action before the snap. He had three tackles and one for a loss in the win over the Seminoles and 2.5 sacks last year as a reserve for the three-time defending SEC champs. Lewis had five tackles, one for loss, against the Seminoles in his first prolonged action as a member of the Tide.

Alabama hosts Mercer Saturday afternoon at noon ET before traveling to Auburn on Nov. 25 in a game that will decide the division title for just the second time since the divisional split in 1992.