Marcus Lattimore thought the big injury was behind him. After his 2011 season ended with a fourth quarter injury to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, it was on to rehabbing torn ligaments and dealing with surgery to repair cartilage damage. At the time, South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier said, “Our worst fears were realized.”
But it was nothing compared to what happened this past Saturday, in one of the most horrific visible injuries that’s ever taken place in college football. But with the visual spectacle came a lot of assumptions that were hard to argue with at the time. Indeed, it looked as if from one play that this could likely be a career ending injury.
But now that much of the dust has settled early evaluations are in, and it’s not as gloomy as first feared. The good news is there were no broken bones, not even a fracture. This is critical in his legs’ ability to heal. The other key element is although there was ligament damage, none of his ligaments were torn.
In fact, no one has even so much as mentioned the ugly “S” word as far as Lattimore’s immediate future; surgery.
There’s no doubt that the injury was gruesome, and will require a lot of time to heal, but thankfully the young running back does have time on his side. Lattimore hasn’t used his redshirt yet, meaning that he can sit out the entire 2013 season without losing a year of eligibility. Spurrier echoed this positive sentiment saying, “We’re optimistic his football days are ahead of him.”
Officially, the injury is being classified as a “hyperextended” right knee. Although that word doesn’t tell us everything we need to know, Lattimore will receive further evaluation this week.
Tennessee Volunteers defender Eric Gordon, the player inadvertently causing the injury this past Saturday, has not spoken publicly yet. Vols receiver Justin Hunter did say, “We knew he came off a knee injury and for this to happen to him is bad.”
If there’s any positive to this, it’s that Lattimore already has experience coming back from a big injury, and he may have needed the first experience to be able to make this comeback. If he does in fact return in 2014, you can guarantee it will be to a standing ovation, regardless of whether it’s home or away.