After the San Francisco 49ers used a fourth-round draft pick on Marcus Lattimore, it was coach Jim Harbaugh who said the club was going to be extra cautious with the South Carolina running back.

Harbaugh put the brakes on Lattimore’s ambitious plans to be back playing soon. The Niners want to think big picture with their investment.

That hasn’t changed even though Harbaugh delivered good news Friday when it came to Lattimore’s progress in recovery from knee reconstruction last fall.

Everything looks good structurally with all the guys that we drafted,” Harbaugh said, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “The ACL looks really good for Marcus. We're just going to have to take a step back in terms of the cutting because we want that inside of the knee, the lateral side of the knee, to heal fully. But we're good.”

Lattimore knows the Niners might not even let him get on the field in 2013.

“I think that would be fine,” Lattimore said. "Whatever happens, you know, these next three months will probably determine that. I'm just going to continue to keep working hard, and if I'm called upon, I feel like hopefully I'll be ready.”

It will be interesting to see where he is at when training camp arrives.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune