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Marcus Lattimore enters NFL draft, may miss rookie year

Georgia v South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 06: Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks rushes upfield against the Georgia Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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Marcus Lattimore, a South Carolina running back who has first-round talent but is coming off an injury so serious he might be sidelined for a year or more, has decided to enter the 2013 NFL draft.

Lattimore thinks rehabbing with NFL team doctors is the best way to recover, a source told ESPN’s Joe Schad, and that’s the biggest reason he has decided that now is the time to go pro.

However, Lattimore may have to sit out his entire rookie season while recovering. Although some players, most notably Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, have suffered a torn ACL at the end of one season and returned in time to play well at the start of the next season, not all torn ACLs are created equal. And Lattimore’s injury seems to be serious enough that it’s no sure thing he’ll be ready to play at any point in 2013.

That injury -- combined with the fact that Lattimore previously had a torn ACL in his other knee -- will surely make his draft stock slip. But even if he’s making nothing more than the league minimum while doing nothing more than rehabbing his knee at an NFL team facility in 2013, that’s still better than making zero while doing nothing more than rehabbing his knee at South Carolina in 2013.