by Dave Miller
October 15, 02011
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore left the team's game at Mississippi State on Saturday in the fourth quarter with a left knee sprain.
The Gamecocks' Heisman Trophy contender, who entered the contest averaging an SEC-best 129.8 rushing yards per game, managed only 39 yards and a touchdown in the 14-12 win before being sidelined. He went to the team's locker room before re-emerging on crutches and with his knee tightly wrapped.
Head coach Steve Spurrier says Lattimore could be out "a while," which is a brutal blow to a team that relies on its strong rushing attack with sophomore Connor Shaw taking over starting quarterback duties. Shaw struggled for most of his third career start, completing 20 of 28 passes for 155 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Losing Lattimore, who rushed for 779 yards coming into the game against the Bulldogs, could really set back an offense that has been hit or miss this season. The Gamecocks do catch a break in that they're off next week before traveling to Tennessee on Oct. 29.
Freshman Brandon Wilds, who has 8 rushes for 67 yards on the season, would seemingly be in line for more carries if Lattimore was to miss any time.
UPDATE: Lattimore was ruled out for the season on Sunday with a torn ligament in his left knee. He also suffered some cartilage damage. Lattimore will require surgery, although the knee will be kept braced so it can stabilize for several weeks before operation.
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