Knee sprain for Marcus Lattimore leaves South Carolina holding its breath

South Carolina 14, Mississippi State 12.
South Carolina's season might have taken another hit Saturday when All-American running back Marcus Lattimore sustained an apparent knee injury in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State.

Lattimore, who was hit by Nickoe Whitley, was tended to on the field and helped to the sideline. Trainers then placed him in a knee brace and Lattimore left the field on crutches.

Things weren't great for Lattimore prior to the injury: He had 17 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown, far below his SEC-best 130-yard average for the season. South Carolina ended up winning the game 14-12, but the potential loss of Lattimore puts a damper on the victory.

Coming into this weekend, Lattimore ranked sixth nationally with 779 yards on the season and nine touchdowns. He'd rushed for at least 100 yards in four of the Gamecocks' previous six games, including a 246-yard, three-touchdown performance on 37 carries against Navy on Sept. 17.

Lattimore's exit could be the program's second major blow in less than a week. On Tuesday, the schools announced oft-suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia had been dismissed from the program.

UPDATE, 5:42 p.m. ET. Lattimore left the locker room on crutches after the game. Initial indications suggest he suffered a sprained knee, but there are still no conclusive reports on his status for the rest of the year.

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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