The 49ers got their first in-depth look at Marcus Lattimore’s knee since they drafted him, and they were pleased with what they saw.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the rookie running back will play this season.
The fourth-round pick went through a thorough examination upon reporting with the rest of the 49ers rookies this week, and coach Jim Harbaugh was encouraged.
“Everything looks good structurally with all the guys that we drafted,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “The ACL looks really good for Marcus. We have to take a step back in terms of some of the cutting because we want that inside of the knee, the lateral side of the knee, to heal fully.”
Lattimore probably would have been a first-round pick, before a nasty right knee injury in October. That and the team’s abundance of picks allowed them to take a flier on him late, knowing they don’t necessarily need him this year, and can give him time to get well.
“I think that would be fine,” Lattimore said of the possibility of a redshirt year. “Whatever happens these next three months probably will determine that. I’m going to continue to keep working hard, and if I’m called upon, I feel like hopefully I’ll be ready.
“I feel like whatever’s best, I’m going to go with that. We have a lot of great guys on our team — Kendall [Hunter], Frank [Gore], Anthony Dixon, LaMichael [James]. And I know I can learn a lot from those guys.”
He’s going through meetings with teammates and coaches now, and that might be the extent of his activity this year. The luxury of depth works for him too, as it gives one of the brightest stars in college football a chance to get back to the form he showed at South Carolina.