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ATLANTA (AP) _ Georgia Tech defensive end Greg Gathers could miss the rest of the season because of a kidney ailment that has caused him to drop 15 pounds and taken away his stamina.

Gathers, the school's career sacks leader, won't play in Saturday's game against Brigham Young and likely will apply to the NCAA for a medical redshirt, which would allow the senior to come back and play next year if he can't return this season.

If Gathers plays another game, he won't be eligible for the medical exemption. He also was hurting his NFL draft potential by trying to play when he wasn't at full strength.

``I think everybody could see he was not performing,'' coach Chan Gailey said. ``He was trying his best, but his medical condition wouldn't allow him to do what he needed to do.''

Gathers, a 6-foot-1, 275-pound player, had 10 sacks last season to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference. He has 31 sacks for his career but only one in the Yellow Jackets' first three games. He had just one tackle in a 24-19 loss to Clemson last Saturday.

Gathers has been on medication for the kidney disorder, known as minimal change disease, since mid-July. That made it difficult for him to regain strength and stamina.

``He has a lot of pride in himself,'' Gailey said. ``It takes a man to admit that he's not where he needs to be physically.''

Gathers did not attend practice Thursday and could not be reached for comment.

Dr. Angelo Galante, the team's physician, said Gather's condition is not as serious as the kidney disorder that has threatened the career of NBA player Alonzo Mourning.

Gathers' ailment involves protein leaking into the urinary tract, which can lead to kidney failure if left untreated. He has been taking a prednisone, a steroid, and other medications to make sure his body doesn't retain water and unneeded weight.