SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Almost two years removed from his gruesome knee injury he suffered in his final season at South Carolina, Marcus Lattimore is slated to begin practicing for the first time this season as a member of the 49ers.
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh Thursday outlined a plan that will have the running back on the practice field starting the week of Oct. 27, following the team's Week 8 bye.
Lattimore is eligible to return from the non-football injury list following Monday's game against the Rams. But with the bye a week out, coming after the team's trip to Denver to play the Broncos, Harbaugh said he didn't want to activate Lattimore after this week because the bye would count toward the 21-day window in which he can practice.
"Kind of think that’s the best for Marcus," Harbaugh said. "He hasn’t played football in a year and a half. We could simulate a good three-week training camp period and then activate after that and turn him loose. Giving him the best possible scenario to help the football - for him to be at his best."
The plan is to add Lattimore to the 53-man roster this season, Harbaugh said, which would add another notable name to the pair of running backs already on the roster. Frank Gore is fifth in the league in rushing and his backup Carlos Hyde has received 10 carries in consecutive weeks.
The 49ers contingency plan at running back in case of injury, undrafted rookie Kendall Gaskins, is on the practice squad. Former second-string halfback Kendall Hunter is out for the year after sustaining a torn ACL early in training camp.
Lattimore suffered ACL, MCL, LCL tears and a dislocation of his left knee in an October game against Tennessee in 2012, a year removed from tearing the ACL in his same knee. The 49ers drafted him in the fourth round in 2013 knowing he would take at least a year to rehab into form.
Lattimore returned to the field during the team's offseason program in the spring, but suffered a hamstring strain the prevented him from re-joining the team during training camp.
If he does rejoin the team on the practice field at the end of this month, Lattimore would most likely be added to the 53-man roster in time for Nov. 23's game against Washington.
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