Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore rehabbing in the hydro pool at the Andrews Institute Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
Watch out Adrian Peterson, there's a new rehabilitation stud.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a catastrophic knee injury in an Oct. 27 game against Tennessee. Six days later, orthopedist James Andrews' team was completely rebuilding Lattimore's right knee, repairing the ACL, LCL and PCL.
Lattimore, 21, was determined to turn the second major knee injury of his career into the next great comeback story. He's already gained 20 pounds of muscle and could play in 2013, Andrews says.
"I want to be an inspiration," Lattimore told USA TODAY Sports. "To let people know that with hard work, and when you trust in God, you can come back from anything and do anything."
Andrews says Lattimore is three months ahead of schedule on his rehab, and his work ethic has been on par with Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings running back and Andrews patient who came within 9 yards of the single-season rushing record after tearing his ACL the previous season.
"He's twice as far along as we ever expected him to be. He's so self motivated," Andrews says of Lattimore. "This weight he's put on has been all muscle, which is absolutely impossible in most cases. It remains to be seen if he can play this season.
"We've had to slow him down in certain activities because he'd get ahead of us," Andrews added. "He's one of the finest young men I've ever had the opportunity to help take care of."