Lattimore could be out until 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Marcus Lattimore had his right knee dislocated and suffered ligament damage in Saturday's victory against Tennessee, but South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he believes the junior eventually could return to football.
Spurrier visited Lattimore on Sunday and said the running back displayed a good attitude about his condition. Spurrier said team doctor Jeffrey Guy was able to put Lattimore's knee back in place soon after he was taken from the field to the hospital.
Guy said in a statement that Lattimore's knee was hyperextended and resulted in injuries to several ligaments. Guy said there were no fractures, broken bones or other injuries, and Lattimore's surgically repaired left knee was not affected.
“Marcus has already begun the process of prehabilitation prior to surgery and to his eventual return to football,” the statement said.
Spurrier said the injury was significant but discounted speculation that Lattimore would never play football again. Lattimore has not used a redshirt season, so he could take as long as necessary to recover and return to the Gamecocks for the 2014 season.
“We're optimistic his football days are ahead of him,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier said he hasn't talked with Lattimore, who turns 21 on Monday, about his playing future.
“He knows what the road ahead is,” Spurrier said. “We're all hoping and praying he'll be back.”
That didn't seem possible to anyone who saw the slow-motion replay of the second-quarter hit. Lattimore was wrapped up from behind on a 2-yard run when Volunteers defensive back Eric Gordon came in low. Lattimore's right leg sickeningly flopped over and slammed against the turf, and he had to be carted off the field to the hospital.
Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw said the team played for Lattimore in the second half, with South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 SEC) holding on for a 38-35 win over Tennessee (3-5, 0-5). The No. 11 Gamecocks don't play again until Nov. 10 against Arkansas.
University president Harris Pastides visited with Lattimore on Sunday and announced a rally would be held in the player's honor on campus Monday.
Senior Kenny Miles will be South Carolina's new starting running back, with freshman Mike Davis serving as backup.