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Injured RB Lattimore gets cheers from NFL scouts

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm •  Published: March 27, 2013
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Marcus Lattimore stood silently in front of the mesh, ladder-style workout mat in South Carolina's weight room, ready to show the NFL how far he's come since his horrific knee injury five months ago.

"I was a little nervous," the ex-Gamecocks running back said. "But excited, too, that I could do this."

Lattimore did a series of exercises designed to demonstrate the progress of his surgically repaired knee. He dislocated the knee and tore several ligaments against Tennessee at Williams-Brice Stadium last October.

He did step-ups, box jumps, deep-knee bends, forward and backward lunges and one-legged balancing drills while holding weights for a group that included Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals, the only head coach at the workouts.

Lattimore received a loud cheer from former teammates and coaches, and evaluators from the 31 NFL teams attending Wednesday's workouts.

Later on, Lattimore caught passes with running backs and receivers — although he walked out to a designated spot to catch the simple throws from former South Carolina passers Syvelle Newton and Seth Strickland.

He hopes he answered enough questions to gain a spot in next month's NFL draft.

"They've seen me move a little bit. They've seen me use my feet, use my knee," he said. "My knee's fine. I think everything's going to be all right."

It didn't look that way five months ago. Lattimore had returned from a left-knee injury during his sophomore season and was among the Southeastern Conference's top rushers heading into the game with the Vols.

But Lattimore's season ended in the second quarter when he was tackled at the end of a run. His right leg flopped over like a rag doll's limb and trainers had to keep pushing Lattimore's head down and chest back down to keep him from seeing the damage.

Players from Tennessee joined South Carolina teammates in wishing Lattimore well before he was driven off the field in shock. He was considered a first-round NFL draft pick prior to the injury. Lattimore's given up worrying about where or if he'll go in the draft.

"I'm not even going to watch," he said. "I'm just going to wait for my phone call" from an NFL team.

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