Marcus Lattimore fell to a devastating knee injury in the second quarter of South Carolina’s game against Tennessee on Saturday. But what appeared to be a career-ending dislocated knee could be an injury that Lattimore returns from, according to coach Steve Spurrier.
When speaking with the Associated Press after a hospital visit with Lattimore on Sunday, Spurrier told reporters that “we're optimistic his football days are ahead of him," solidifying the notion that a return could be mounted by the young running back.
A press release dated October 28, 2012 from the South Carolina Athletics Department stated the following:
University of South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a significant impact to the front of his right knee during the Tennessee game on Saturday. The ensuing hyperextension of the knee resulted in injury to several ligaments. There were no fractures or additional injuries, according to team physician Dr. Jeffrey Guy. Lattimore's surgically repaired left knee was uninjured during the play.
The report from the university is encouraging, considering early rumors that mentioned broken bones.
Lattimore returned this year from a knee injury that he sustained last season. He was building a very strong campaign for the Gamecocks as the leading ball carrier and pass-catching threat from the backfield.
He seemed to be in his 2011 early-season form against the Volunteers, carrying the ball 11 times for 65 yards and a touchdown before his injury. His touchdown came on a 28-yard dash that showed the best of his one cut ability.
For what appeared to be an injury that would take a young career, there is a lot of promise ahead for the young Gamecocks running back.
There is a lengthy climb ahead for Lattimore, and Spurrier said Sunday that "he knows what the road ahead is; we're all hoping and praying he'll be back."
Rehabilitation is not new to Lattimore, and neither is hard work. This is simply a turning point in one of the strongest careers from the running back position in South Carolina history.
When the Lattimore injury became known, a host of players reached out to the running back with support.
Auburn running back Tre Mason had this to say via Twitter:
I know that I wear #21 but I'll wear it in honor of @latttwoone tonight!— Tre Mason (@TreMason21) October 27, 2012
Demarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys also chimed in saying this:
Praying for Marcus Lattimore. Hate to see the best RB in college go down. Keep ya head up my man!— DeMarco Murray (@DeMarcoMurray) October 27, 2012
A number of other athletes and celebrities from Tim Tebow to Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame gave Lattimore uplifting words through Twitter.
It doesn’t end there. According to WLTX.com in Columbia, S.C., a party will be thrown for Lattimore on Monday for his 21st birthday. If you have the time to make it to Columbia, it will be at McMissick Museum according to the report.
Marcus Lattimore is a good football player, but he is also a well-respected young man for his actions off the field. The support shows that.
The resilience that he has shown is just three short years at South Carolina will continue and Lattimore will once again take the field in garnet and black.
This may take more than a year to overcome, but No. 21 will run again.