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There’s “Good” News and Bad News For USC’s Lattimore

Yesterday afternoon, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gave the word that star running back Marcus Lattimore had suffered a dislocated knee cap and that his season was finished.  Then, last evening, the school released a statement of its own.  Like Spurrier, the release sounded somewhat optimistic that Lattimore might play football again.  (And if you’ve seen video of the injury you know that Lattimore’s football future is clearly up for debate.)

Here’s the release:

 

University of South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a significant impact to the front of his right knee during the Tennessee game on Saturday. The ensuing hyperextension of the knee resulted in injury to several ligaments. There were no fractures or additional injuries, according to team physician Dr. Jeffrey Guy. Lattimore’s surgically repaired left knee was uninjured during the play.

Lattimore is resting comfortably and will continue to be evaluated over the course of the week. Marcus has already begun the process of prehabilitation prior to surgery and to his eventual return to football.

Lattimore, a six-foot, 212-pounder from Duncan, S.C., was injured late in the second quarter of the Gamecocks’ 38-35 win over Tennessee. Prior to the injury, he gained 65 yards on 11 carries, including a 28-yard touchdown run, against the Vols.

Lattimore was the Gamecocks’ leading rusher this season, gaining 662 yards on 143 carries (4.6 yards per carry), with a team-leading 11 touchdowns. He was also the top receiver with 26 catches for 173 yards. He was coming off a season-ending left knee injury suffered against Mississippi State in the seventh game of the 2011 campaign.

For his career, Lattimore has rushed 555 times (fourth in school history) for 2,677 yards (sixth in school history) with 41 total touchdowns including 38 rushing touchdowns, both school records.

 

The bad news is that a great player will have to rehab himself from a second knee injury in two years… that the star will someday enter the NFL draft with scars on both knees which could cost him a lot of money… and that South Carolina will have to soldier on without their best offensive weapon, just as it did last year.

The “good” news is that Lattimore’s career isn’t necessarily finished and that there were no further injuries to the leg other than the damage to “several ligaments.”  It’s a bad, sad story when that’s the good news.

Oddly enough, when this writer saw the injury and watched doctors place an air cast around Lattimore’s leg, I had hoped for a broken bone rather than an injured knee.  Broken bones heal.  Injured knees require endless rehab and even then questions will remain about future durability of the joint.

CBS’ Dennis Dodd reported over the weekend that Lattimore’s injury could be akin to the massive damage done to Willis McGahee’s knee in the January 2003 BCS title game.  If that’s so, then here’s hoping Lattimore’s career further follows McGahee’s.

The ex-Miami Hurricane went through a number of surgeries on his knee, entered the NFL draft, and was selected in the first round.  He didn’t play with the Buffalo Bills in the fall of ’03, but he returned to the field in ’04, rushed for more than 1,000 yards and captured the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.  He’s been playing ever since.  In fact, he had 122 yards rushing and a touchdown on 23 carries for the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football last evening.

Those close to the Carolina program say there is not a better young man on the team than Lattimore.  The kid deserves something good to go his way.  Here at MrSEC.com, we hope he can indeed rehab his knee and someday thrive in the NFL just as McGahee has.  If there’s any justice in the world, that’s exactly what will happen.

(And kudos to players from both South Carolina and Tennessee for gathering around Lattimore after his injury.  Can’t remember seeing opposing teams do that after anything other than a neck-related injury.  It was a class move that showed just how well-respected Lattimore and his talents are all across the SEC.)

 


15 comments
SevierVol
SevierVol

If Gordon was indeed trying to hurt Lattimore, he would have hiit his previously injured left knee which was closer to him on the play. This was an unfortunate accident that happens occasionally in football and nothing more.. Had this same hit of happened in mop-up time against a back-up RB,, it would never have been questioned. Besides, I'm not convinced that UT's secondary is even capable of planning and executing a dirty hit since they struggle to get close enough to make any kind of contact.

dynamitefan2
dynamitefan2

Horrible injury. Lattimore is just snakebitten he's coming off an injury and now this happens to him. Bad things happen to good people

train21reb
train21reb

I'm almost certain that Spurrier, from what I read yesterday, didn't say dislocated knee cap (patella).  He said dislocated knee.  That one word makes a huge difference.  

Just watching the video live, it was plain to see that Lattimore had a true knee dislocation.  All of his stabilizing ligaments were torn, putting his neurovascular structures to his knee and leg in danger.  This is similar to McGahee, but McGahee's injury wasn't a true dislocation in that his didn't stay out of place.  He "only" and I use that word loosely, he "only" tore both his ACL and PCL.  

The release from USC is positive in nature, and you can't blame them for that.  In reality, Lattimore will be lucky just to walk again.  Complications from this injury are sometimes BTK (below the knee) amputation because the blood supply is compromised even when the knee is relocated in just a few minutes.

Make no mistake, this is as bad of a knee injury as anyone can sustain.  He will be lucky to walk again (not lose the leg) and his football career is over.

Sad, but true.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @train21reb 

 

It was reported in a number of places that it was a dislocated "knee cap" (here's one: http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/10/28/lattimore-injury-season-ending-knee-dislocation-at-minimum/), but I didn't hear his presser first hand.

 

When I saw the injury, I immediately thought of former Georgia running back Robert Edwards who destroyed his knee in a beach football game as in a Pro Bowl-related NFL rookie contest.  Word eventually came out that doctors had had to save his leg due to the same type of blood supply issues you mentioned.  I wondered why they were taking so long in getting him out of the stadium and to the hospital just on the off-chance that his injury was as dangerous as Edwards.

 

Edwards eventually made it back to the NFL but he never recaptured the magic of his rookie season.  

 

Now, we're not the doctors and we can only go by what they say via South Carolina releases.  So amputation talk is just as much speculation as "knee cap" dislocation talk might have been.  Here's hoping it is NOT as serious as Edwards' injury.

 

Very sad.  Very sad.

 

John

mb6783
mb6783

Willis McGahee was a first rd pick by the Bills in the 2003 draft. Picked 23rd. He has had a solid career and I sure hope Marcus can do the same. I dare say there has never been a more popular Gamecock football player, we love Marcus in Carolina, and everyone respects him. Even Clemson players and fans were tweeting well wishes to him. Today is the young mans birthday, what a birthday present. 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @mb6783 

 

You're correct.  Not sure why -- other than it's morning! -- I wrote third round instead of first, but I've flipped that word in the post.  

Good catch.

 

John

Boyd Crowder
Boyd Crowder

I thought it was a cheap shot!  He went head first into the knees full speed.  And all this follows last weeks encouragement from the former vol QB to this vol team to take out the knee of the best player if they wanted to win.  He said it!  The did it!  And it stinks of intentional!

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Boyd Crowder 

 

Sorry, not buying that one.  Running backs and receivers are tackled low all the time.  It was an ugly football play, but I sure don't think it was intentional.  Regardless of what former Tennessee player Erik Ainge said a week prior regarding Alabama's AJ McCarron.

 

The human body isn't made to play football.  It's a wonder more ankles and knees aren't snapped on a regular basis.  And that's not even getting into what we're learning about brain trauma in football.

 

But I can't go with you on the cheap shot thing.  Pay attention to how many ballcarriers are hit low by defensive backs and you'll see that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the Lattimore play... aside from the sad, terrible result.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

 

 

Boyd Crowder
Boyd Crowder

the fact remains - the former vol QB said last game to "take out a knee" and this week - they took out a knee

 

thats two close to be a coincidence (and it smells)

 

train21reb
train21reb

 @John at MrSEC  Hotty Toddy, John.  Hotty Toddy!  It's obvious to me who your "real" favorite SEC team is.  

Thanks for responding to my injury comment.  And I guess I should have specified that yes, Lattimore did have a dislocated knee cap.  That was one of the results of the general knee dislocation.  But by far, that was not the most serious aspect of the ordeal.

bvkv09
bvkv09

 @John at MrSEC  @Boyd Crowder John, 

 

There is no point in arguing with Bowd aka: George Noory. Thanks for all the hard work, and this is from a Tennessee fan that thinks you do a fair job. There is no way that Eric Gordon purposely hurt Lattimore. Regardless of what Eric Ainge said. This is the type of thing that I absolutely hate reading on a message board.  

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Boyd Crowder 

 

And now we've crossed over into "you must be a fan of School X" territory.  Never fails.  

 

Well, you obviously don't keep up with things on this site.  First, I was blasted at the time by a few Vol fans for posting Ainge's dumb comment when he made it:

 

http://www.mrsec.com/2012/10/ex-ut-qb-ainge-tells-radio-show-vols-should-step-on-bama-qb-mccarrons-knee/

 

Also, since you're not keeping on current events, I broke a story last week that Derek Dooley and a chunk of Tennessee fans took issue with:

 

http://www.mrsec.com/2012/10/dooley-denies-buyout-claim-id-be-a-real-dumbass-to-do-that/

 

By this point, it should be wickedly clear that I'm not a fan of ANY team in the SEC.  I cover them.  I tell you what I think (with no regard for potential backlash) and I tell you what I believe to be true (always explaining whether it's my opinion or sourced information).

 

I've written nice things about each school when it's been called for... and I've written not-so-nice things about those same schools when that's been called for.

 

You're on Conspiracy Island on this one.  But for kicks, again, I ask you to take note of whether or not South Carolina's DBs tackle ballcarriers low or high.  You'll find that most DBs tackle low.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

 

Boyd Crowder
Boyd Crowder

this is my last post on this - but im going to answer your questions

 

But even if Erik Ainge suggested "taking out a knee," why would UT players

a) take their advice from him, HE IS A VOL, A FORMER PLAYER (VOL FOR LIFE, REMEMBER)

b) wait a week to follow that advice, CAUSE THEY DIDNT TAKE IT @ BAMA AND THEY LOST

c) wait until the second quarter to finally carry through with it?  IT TOOK TILL THEM TO GET THE PERFECT CHEAP SHOT ON THE KNEE

 

Im concerned you dont have any interest in a very public story of a former vol telling the currect team to "bend" the rules" and "get a 15 yard penalty"  IT IS NOT FARFETCHED that a team thats O for sec and on the road and about to lose their coach would resort to the advice of a former team mate and take out a knee. 

 

my only conclusion, u dare not offend the vol fanbase.  But once the shock of the video wears off in south carolina, they are going to put this puzzle together, and realize that this shot to the knee was premeditated.

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Boyd Crowder 

 

Actually, the player-turned-radio-guy said a Tennessee player should step on AJ McCarron's knee on the first play of the Tennessee-Alabama game to send a message to Bama players that UT's players weren't scared of them.

 

But even if Erik Ainge suggested "taking out a knee," why would UT players a) take their advice from him, b) wait a week to follow that advice, and c) wait until the second quarter to finally carry through with it?

 

The only way to tie the ex-player's "shock jock" comments to what happened on Saturday is to point out once again just how stupid Ainge's comment was in the first place... because he's given others the opportunity to connect imaginary dots from his chatter to on-field actions.  

 

I've done a lot of TV and radio in my time, and I've never heard of a team taking its cue from an ex-player-turned-radio-host.

 

Thanks again for reading,

John

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