(**WARNING: the video above shows a gruesome injury. You may not want to watch if you are squeamish.**)
The entire college football world will be praying for Marcus Lattimore.
The South Carolina running back, who tore an ACL last year and battled all the way back, suffered an injury that looked as ugly as any we've ever seen.
Lattimore, considered one of if not the top running back for next year's NFL Draft had he decided to come out a year early, was running to his left. Tennessee defensive back Eric Gordon tackled him low, and Lattimore's leg collapsed. When he went down, replays showed what clearly looked like a dislocation in his leg. It was a terrible injury that will be remembered alongside Joe Theismann, Napoleon McCallum, Tyrone Prothro and many other grisly injuries that serve as a reminder how violent football can be.
"It looked severe on the field," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said during his halftime interview with ESPN. "Hopefully it's not as severe as we thought."
Players from both sides came onto the field to show support for Lattimore, who was just named captain this week by his teammates. Tennessee's defensive players, in a class move, came over and consoled Lattimore as he was loaded onto the cart. Lattimore rode off the field with a towel over his head, covering his eyes. ESPN showed his family on the sideline, obviously emotional as the reality of what had just happened to Marcus started to sink in. ESPN said later that Lattimore and his mother embraced for about five minutes as he came off the field, and both were crying. Within minutes, Marcus Lattimore was the top trending topic on Twitter.
We hope the injury wasn't as bad as it looked. We hope Lattimore, a junior, can rehabilitate and get back on track for what looked like a promising NFL career. ESPN announcers Brian Griese and Dave Pasch brought up the example of Willis McGahee, who had an awful looking knee injury in college and came back to have a very good pro career. That should give Lattimore some hope, assuming his injuries can be repaired and he can return to football.
It looks like it will be a long road back for Lattimore. We'll be rooting for him.
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