- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill remained in a Chicago hospital Wednesday, and there was still no timetable for when he would be able to return to the team.
Kill was admitted to a hospital in DeKalb, Ill., on Sunday after suffering a setback following surgery he had Sept. 3. He was later transferred to a hospital in Chicago, where he underwent further tests and met with his personal physician. Kill has refused to disclose the nature of his medical condition, saying only that it was not related to the kidney cancer he fought in 2005.
Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher said Tuesday he had no idea whether Kill would be on the sideline Saturday at Illinois. If Kill is unable to return, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys would serve as acting head coach in the game. Compher said the decision rested in the hands of Kill's doctors.
"If anybody knows Coach Kill, trying to keep him off the sidelines on Saturday will be a very tough job," Compher said. "However, if his doctor indicates that that is not advisable for him to be there, we do a have a plan. ... I know that one of the advantages that we have with Coach Kill's staff is the fact that so many of them have been together for such a long time. They're very organized and they know exactly what their responsibilities are. They've been coaching this team this week as if Coach Kill were here on making sure that they're covering all of the bases and preparing our team for Illinois this weekend. I feel very good about that."
Compher said he would tell Kill there is no reason to rush his return.
"I want to support him and his family with that and let him know that one game doesn't make a season whether he's with us or not," Compher said. "We need him to get well and be back and have him feeling better and I'm going to let him know that's our main priority."
As for how Kill is feeling, Compher said, "I have spoken to his wife on many occasions and I think he wants to get well. I think he wants to get back here as quickly as possible, but those are the type of things that we want to leave up to the doctors to determine when he can get back. His spirits are pretty high. He's up and moving around and talking and letting people know what he thinks about being in the hospital."
Andrea Adelson is a national college football blogger for ESPN.com.
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