Barely a year after tearing his left ACL against Mississippi State, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore has sustained what may be a season-threatening leg injury during the Gamecocks' Week 9 contest against Tennessee. Late in the second quarter in Columbia, Lattimore was caught between two Tennessee defenders and appeared to take a helmet to the right knee. We've posted ESPN's video of the hit below, but it's difficult to watch, and we'd recommend skipping it if you're at all squeamish about joint injuries:
Steve Spurrier would not comment in depth on Lattimore's injury at halftime, saying only that "It looked severe on the field." Lattimore was taken away with a towel draped over his head as players from both teams gathered at midfield to show their support. He's since been transported to a hospital for evaluation. Our very best wishes to Lattimore for a rapid and complete recovery.
Through eight games, Lattimore has been averaging close to 75 yards per outing as the Gamecocks' leading rusher and has led the team in scoring. This is a devastating blow for both Lattimore and his South Carolina family. The Gamecocks held on after the injury to beat Tennessee 38-35, but will likely have to continue without their top back for the rest of the season. Lattimore rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown before the injury; running back Kenny Miles and quarterback Connor Shaw each rushed for 34 yards on the day, with Shaw punching in a ground score.
Below, Twitter reactions to the injury news and photos from the on-field events:
Marcus Lattimore was injured on this second-quarter helmet-to-knee hit by Tennessee's Eric Gordon
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A towel covered Lattimore's face as he was carted off the field against Tennessee. (AP)
Lattimore's mother, Yolanda Smith, watched from the sidelines as her son's injury was treated. (AP)