Following back-to-back devastating knee injuries in 2011 and 2012 at South Carolina, Lattimore was fortunate enough to land in San Francisco who placed him on the NFI list all season. He got some practice time late in the season, but was shelved after that.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Lattimore discussed how his knees felt after rehab and conditioning throughout the 49ers 2013 season.
"The left knee, it feels like nothing ever happened. The right knee, it feels great. Both feel balanced. I've got my speed and I rarely get any soreness. I can’t go out there and be Superman the first day,” he said. “Once I get back in the groove and take a few hits, I’ll be OK.”The 49ers can begin their off-season workout program as soon as April 21, which Lattimore has circled in red, which he hopes will give him the green light to run as he did in 2012 before the second of his two knee injuries during college.
|IanMcCor via Wikimedia Commons|
If Lattimore’s indeed well for 2014, he’s talented enough to give the 49ers some options in the backfield, after starting running back Frank Gore took 75 percent of the snaps last season. A starting position is hard to envision at this point, but it does give the 49ers some more depth and relief for Gore.
Lattimore appreciates the patience of Harbaugh, the 49ers team, and their front office. "I was just so grateful they believed in what I could do," Lattimore said. He added said the team's caution and work he has put in have paid off and the knee feels as strong as before the injury.
It is hard to envision a team rolling the dice on a collegiate player with two ACL tears in two years. Drafting Lattimore in 2013 and telling him not to worry about rushing back to play, the 49ers and Harbaugh are a respectable organization that renders all the gratitude Lattimore is giving them. This sure makes Lattimore entering into the spring as one of the NFL's most intriguing young players.
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