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Starting safety Hootie Jones will miss the Sugar Bowl due to a knee injury.

Alabama football: Will Crimson Tide be healthy for matchup with Clemson?

The Sugar Bowl is still weeks away, but we’ll be tackling the best question from Alabama football fans each day. Look for our Alabama Question of the Day every Tuesday through Friday. 

Alabama football earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. It will be the Crimson Tide’s fourth appearance in the playoff’s four-year history. Alabama will face No. 1 Clemson on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal. No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia will meet in the Rose Bowl semifinal.

Will Alabama be healthy for Sugar Bowl matchup vs. Clemson?

The answer to this one is yes and no. From an injury standpoint, Alabama should be healthy at linebacker by game time. Alabama coach Nick Saban said the Crimson Tide’s linebackers who have been banged up — Mack Wilson, Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis — will be back for the game.

That’s huge. Wilson, Miller and Lewis all played in the Iron Bowl, but they weren’t 100 percent. They should be there, or really close to it by Jan. 1.

Star defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) and left guard Ross Pierschbacher (ankle) should also have time to heal, as well as any other players who were dealing with nagging injuries.

The bad news is that Alabama will be without starting safety Hootie Jones, whom Saban said suffered a knee injury against Auburn.

Jones was a staple at one of the safety spots in Alabama’s nickel and dime packages. He’ll likely be replaced by junior Deionte Thompson. Thompson is a physical safety, who will benefit from this experience heading into next season.