Tennessee Volunteers players and South Carolina Gamecocks players check on injured South Carolina Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore. (Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE)
Marcus Lattimore (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports
USC running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome knee injury during the second quarter of the Gamecocks' game against SEC East rival Tennessee. USC won 38-35.
Saturday afternoon, the university said Lattimore is out indefinitely, and would continue to be evaluated this week.
Bouncing a carry to the left side of the line, Lattimore was first hit high by a Tennessee defender at the line of scrimmage. Almost simultaneously, another Volunteer hit Lattimore at the midpoint of his right leg, bending the leg back and causing what appears to be a very significant injury.
He was later taken to the hospital by ambulance for treatment.
"It's pretty severe," USC Head Coach Steve Spurrier said after the game. "Maybe he'll be back next year....maybe it won't be as severe as it seemed on the field."
Spurrier said the team decided to give Lattimore the game ball. "As a person there is none better that I've ever met," he said.
Spurrier did not speculate what he thought the injury may be, saying he wanted the official word to come from doctors.
If a season-ending setback, this was mark the second year in a row that Lattimore has had a productive campaign cut short due to a knee injury.
Lattimore suffered a knee injury in last October's win over Mississippi State, ending his season after seven games. At the time, Lattimore was one of the nation's leading rushers with 818 yards.
Lattimore had gained 597 rushing yards heading into Saturday's game despite rushing for only 13 yards in last Saturday's loss to Florida. Before the injury, Lattimore had rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
As South Carolina's medical personnel began treating the injury, a significant number of Lattimore's teammates walked off the sidelines and onto the field in a gesture of solidarity for one of the team's unquestioned leaders.
Those players were then joined by a number of players off of Tennessee's sidelines, providing a touching show of support for Lattimore.
Lattimore remained on the turf, immobile, for several minutes while under the care of USC's medical team. Eventually, Lattimore was placed onto a cart and driven off the field, his head covered in a towel, to one last roar from the crowd.
Minutes after the injury, LSU coach Les Miles said on his Twitter account, "So sad to see the injury to Marcus Lattimore. Strong kid! We wish him well in recovery."