Marcus Lattimore's rookie season will end in a similar fashion to his college career. The San Francisco 49ers will place the running back on injured reserve, and the young man will focus on recovering fully for 2014.
Placing him on injured reserve comes as no surprise. 49ers sources said in August they didn't expect the rookie running back to play in 2013, instead electing to have Lattimore work with the team's training staff and fully recover. This necessitated keeping him on the active roster so he could practice for three weeks, while not risking his rights by placing him on the team's practice squad -- where he could have been poached by a rival team.
Lattimore sustained a torn ACL, MCL and PCL against the Tennessee Volunteers in 2012. Once believed to be a top-ten lock, he tumbled down draft boards due to his two ligament injuries while playing for South Carolina. He was selected in the fourth round by San Francisco.
The running back remains confident, despite his season being over. Lattimore was encouraged by his three weeks of practice, and is preparing for the next step.
"Three weeks, and I got better every week," he said. "And that was my main goal, to get better every week. The soreness went down every week. I was out there moving around and being myself. And I know the things I have to work on now."
His situation isn't dissimilar to Willis McGahee, who sustained a ligament tear prior to the 2003 draft. McGahee is in his 11th NFL season, rushing for over 8,000 career yards and being voted to two Pro Bowls. If Lattimore can have similar success this injury will only be a memory, and the 49ers could have one of the draft's biggest steals.