One of the most interesting cases entering the draft this year is that of Marcus Lattimore. The South Carolina running back was making tidal waves with the Gamecocks, but his draft stock crash when he tore up his ACL in a game back in October. Since then, Lattimore has already begun to be labeled a ‘what-if’ story, as many believe he would have not only been the first running back off the board in April’s draft, but he likely would have been a top-15 lock.
But the set back hasn’t stopped Lattimore from striving to get better, and after having his recovery deemed ‘superhuman’ by knee specialist Dr. James Andrews, Lattimore says he has “no doubt” in his mind that he’ll be healthy enough to play during the first half of his rookie season in the NFL.
Marcus Lattimore says he has no doubt he will play in the first half of the 2013 NFL season.
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) March 27, 2013
Some still question the fact that Lattimore can return so soon after such a devastating injury, but come September when the NFL season kicks off, it will have been almost a year since he tore his ACL with the Gamecocks. As has become common place when it comes to ACL injuries, the comparison to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson bodes even better for Lattimore. Peterson came back within under nine months to have an MVP season on a surgically reconstructed left knee. Lattimore has had even more time to rest up and has the advantage of being younger than Peterson as well, in case any teams are worried about his shelf life post the injury.
There’s no guarantee that Lattimore will be a success in the NFL, but it’s looking like if he’s not a success it will have little to do with his knee. The injury will forever play a part in his legacy as a pro, but the question still remains as to which side of the legacy the knee injury will ultimately fall on.