Everyone wanted a happy conclusion to the Marcus Lattimore story.
He is a beloved figure in South Carolina, known as a good person who suffered a horrific knee injury for the Gamecocks in October of 2012. He had all the talent to be in the NFL at that point, but the league's self-serving rule that a player must stay in college three years meant he was getting paid with room and board when his football future took an enormous blow. But the 49ers made him a fourth-round pick last year, and it appeared the story would end up OK after he sat out a year to rehabilitate.
There might still be that great ending. But there still seems to be a way to go.
Lattimore will not be full speed for the 49ers' rookie camp this weekend, 19 months after he suffered that significant knee injury. The knee isn't the issue, thankfully. CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco wrote that coach Jim Harbaugh said Lattimore's damaged knee wasn't bothering him. Harbaugh didn't specify what was wrong, but Maiocco said Harbaugh "initially appeared to reach back to his right hamstring area" when asked. Whatever injury Lattimore has might be coincidental to the knee problems, but it's not rare to see someone overcompensate for an injury in one spot and hurt a related area.
The 49ers invested a valuable pick into Lattimore, who is no sure thing to come back at 100 percent, but it was curious that they used a second-round pick on Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde earlier this month. The 49ers have always put a priority on tailback depth, and Frank Gore is 31, but it was impossible to not wonder if the 49ers were worried about Lattimore's progress after they took Hyde.
There's a long way to go until training camp and preseason games and as long as Lattimore's knee isn't the problem then maybe there's nothing to be worried about. Lattimore could still make a full return, be a good NFL tailback and write that positive ending to his ordeal. Anyone who knows his story is hoping that's the case.
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