On October 15, 2011, a large man fell on Marcus Lattimore's left knee, bringing his season to an abrupt end. On October 27, 2012, a large man dove into Marcus Lattimore's right knee, bringing his season to an abrupt end. Ugh.
Despite ESPN's insistance on replaying the collision 20-something times, all I could bear to watch was the initial play and a split-second of him sitting on the ground with his right knee bent in a direction that knees were not built to bend. "Oh god!" I exclaimed as I shielded my eyes. Oh god. Not again. I couldn't watch. Not because I'm squeamish. Well, I am squeamish, but the primary reason I couldn't watch is that I just couldn't stand the idea of being able to pinpoint the precise moment that all of the hard work that Marcus Lattimore put into his rehab this offseason absolutely went to shit, possibly along with his dreams of playing football in the NFL.
I do not care in the slightest what this means for South Carolina's 2012 or even 2013 football season. Not in the slightest. Even allowing myself to think about someone hypothetically thinking about that seems tawdry. I have never felt that way about a player on a team I root for succumbing to a season-ending injury. Even when Connor Shaw looked severely injured during the Vanderbilt game, my primary source of dread was, "Independence Bowl, here we come!"
But when Marcus went down again today, all I felt was rage at the idea that such a terrible thing could happen to such a good kid and frustration that there wasn't really anyone or anything to channel my rage toward. As good as Marcus is at playing football, his talent on the field almost seems secondary at this point to what he brings to the university as a student and a human being. If anyone has the resolve and determination to recover from such a brutal injury, it's Marcus Lattimore. You'll hear that repeated one thousand times in the coming months if you haven't already.
Even if he does have to go pro in something other than sports, employers will be fighting each other off to hire him, and not just as an act of alms giving to a disabled superhero. So it's not like his ability to come back from this will determine whether or not he will be able to put food on the table, but still...
This just sucks.
Oh yeah... South Carolina beat Tennessee, 38-35.