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Recovering Marcus Lattimore Declares He Is Turning Pro

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered a gruesome  knee injury in October, will forgo returning to college and enter the NFL draft, according to multiple reports.

Sources said an official announcement is expected this week, possibly Wednesday.

Lattimore has been working hard to rehabilitate a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament. He said that focusing entirely on his rehabilitation with NFL team doctors will help him recover the quickest, according to the source.

On Oct. 27, against Tennessee, Lattimore took a helmet to his right knee and was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Columbia, S.C. Since then, Lattimore has received an outpouring of support.

It is likely Lattimore may have to sit out the upcoming season, but he apparently has a goal of jogging and catching passes at the end of March for NFL executives, and plans to visit with them at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Since the injury, Lattimore has spoken with other running backs who came back from knee injuries, such as Willis McGahee, Frank Gore and Eddie George. Lattimore believes the time is right to enter the NFL draft, in part to have as long a professional career as possible.

The remarkable return by the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, who came back from a torn ACL last December and now leads the NFL in rushing.

Lattimore’s recovery is on schedule, according to sources, and he is moving about without the use of  crutches.

He missed half of the 2011 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee, but was able to return in time for the 2012 season opener on Aug. 30 against Vanderbilt, when he had 23 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

In three seasons at South Carolina, Lattimore, 6-feet, 218 pounds, has been one of the most dynamic running backs in college football. Lattimore has rushed for 2,677 yards with 38 touchdowns, including 662 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.

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