Is South Carolina Gamecocks' Marcus Lattimore Physically Ready for NFL?

By Mike Atkinson
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Many folks are wondering if they’ve seen the last of South Carolina Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore.

As you may well remember, the last time we saw Lattimore was when he was lying in a heap on the field against the Tennessee Volunteers after bending his knee in ways a human knee isn’t made to bend.

Lattimore then decided he would declare for the NFL draft, a move that surprised a few of us.

How would he recover? Would he recover? Questions loomed around the Gamecocks’ star.

Now, after meeting with Dr. James Andrews, the doctor who has handled all of the injuries to Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Robert Griffin III and more, Lattimore has released a statement saying he is ready to play in 2013.

Lattimore said Andrews told him he is recovering at a rate way ahead of schedule and that his speed of recovery is a miracle.

The question here though is whether or not Lattimore should risk getting back on the field at all. Lattimore has dealt with injuries in all three years of his college career. He was injured during the team’s bowl game in 2010, tore a knee ligament in 2011 in October and missed the rest of the season and then last year, he missed a great deal of the season with another knee injury. Now he wants to move on to bigger, faster, stronger players at the next level?

This kid is obviously injury prone. Aside from what red flags this may raise in the eyes of NFL draft scouts, one would have to consider Lattimore’s safety in the NFL. Lattimore has not been hit nearly as hard as he will be hit every game he plays professionally.

This whole situation sounds scary to me. He’s recovering exceptionally fast, so he wants to throw himself back into the line of fire immediately? That just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. He had another year of school where he could let his leg recover over a long period of time. I just don’t see why he needs to rush anything.

Now some of you will say to me, but Mike, Adrian Peterson did it, why cant Lattimore?

Adrian Peterson nearly had a record breaking regular season after having knee replacement surgery and everyone seems to think because it happened to “AD” it can happen to every player that has knee surgery, and that is just unlikely. Peterson’s situation was nothing short of a very rare case.

I wish Lattimore the best and hope he can do great things in the NFL, but I’m also worried for his health, as he may be a bit too eager to return to play.

Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS or visit his Rant Sports Author Page.

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