Columbia, SC (WLTX) - USC's Marcus Lattimore said he's getting close to recovering the strength and abilityin his injured leg.

Lattimore spoke to reporters after Saturday's Garnet & Black Spring Game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The running back, who'll begin his junior season this fall, is still recovering from a tear in a knee ligament suffered last October. He had surgery in November, and has been rehabbing the leg ever since.

"The main thing was getting [it] stronger," he said.

For the last two months he's been able to run on hard surfaces. On May 2, he says he'll begin cutting from side-to-side, movements that are the most jarring for any athlete's leg.

"I have complete confidence in it [the knee] right now," Lattimore said.

With no direct football to participate in, Lattimore said he's spent time studying the team's playbook and schemes--so much so that he said he's a "master of the offense" now.

He saidthetoughest part of the last six months hasn't beenthe physical struggle; instead, it's been beingaway from the field.

"It was hard," he said. "Just watching them [his teammates]run, doing the things that I used to do was real hard."

In fact, he said the day he was able to run again was an even happier time than when he committed to South Carolina.Now more than ever,he said heunderstands the gift he has.

"I'll never take my legs for granted again," he said.

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