Mar 27, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks former player Marcus Lattimore during pro day in Columbia. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Could Marcus Lattimore make NFL debut by mid-season for San Francisco 49ers?

The San Francisco 49ers will enter the 2013 NFL season as heavy favorites to win the NFC and make a repeat trip to the Super Bowl. They’ll do so behind their run-heavy offense, which features a wealth of running backs that includes Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James.

But one RB on the roster not expected to contribute this year is South Carolina rookie Marcus Lattimore, who is still recovering from multiple knee surgeries over the past two seasons, which both ended with him tearing a major knee ligament.

Despite these setbacks, Lattimore believes he’ll be healthy enough to return to game-action by Week 10

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is also reporting the 49ers believe Lattimore could be ready to practice fully by the middle of the season.

Still, as’s Chris Wesseling reports, the 49ers won’t get their money’s worth out of Lattimore until later in his NFL career:

Any contribution the 49ers get from Lattimore this season is a bonus. They acquired the rights to the 2013 NFL Draft’s most intriguing wild card through a mid-round selection that originally wasn’t even theirs.

In an ideal situation, Lattimore will have recovered enough to take the reins when Frank Gore’s contract expires after the 2014 season.

Tags: Marcus Lattimore NFL San Francisco 49ers

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