Lattimore out for season

Steve Spurrier said Sunday during his weekly teleconference that the Gamecocks' "worst fears were realized" when they found out running back Marcus Lattimore has a torn ligament and cartilage damage in his knee and is out for the season.

The sophomore Heisman-hopeful was blocking on a play in the fourth quarter when a Mississippi State defender went after another South Carolina player and inadvertently rolled into the side of Lattimore's knee.

Lattimore underwent an MRI and will have season-ending surgery after waiting about three weeks.

Lattimore wasn't only the Gamecocks leading rusher the last two seasons but was a team leader and had become known throughout the conference for being a great person who does things the right way.

Lattimore had already rushed for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and was in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy. As a freshman, Lattimore was the unanimous choice for National Freshman of the Year when he rushed for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Freshman running back Brandon Wilds now becomes the Gamecocks' projected starter for the trip to Tennessee after the bye week. Wilds was not highly recruited out of nearby Blythewood HS but has impressed in limited action with 75 yards on 13 attempts. Spurrier says they won't have to change much of the playbook to account for Wilds inexperience.

South Carolina has already lost freshman running back Shon Carson for the season after he injured his knee against Georgia in week-two. Junior running back Kenny Miles has been out ever since injuring his wrist in the same game but could be back for Tennessee. Junior running back Eric Baker has also missed time with a sprained ankle but could be back as well.

Another option for the Gamecocks could be using Bruce Ellington at running back. Spurrier said Sunday they wouldn't give away the game plan but Ellington seems like a possibility the staff would have to consider.

Ellington, a standout on the basketball team as a freshman, has rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, mostly coming out of the Wildcat, this season. Ellington also has 12 receptions for 129 yards from his slot receiver position.

Spurrier saw Lattimore Sunday morning in the training room and said he was going "okay."

"Time heals a lot of wounds," Spurrier says he told Lattimore. "Just give it time and get yourself ready to come back."

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