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Marcus Lattimore will start 49ers' season on NFI list

Marcus Lattimore still is holding out hope that he'll see the field for the San Francisco 49ers this season. If that miracle happens, it officially won't be within the first six games.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Friday that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Lattimore will start the season on the non-football injury list.

Beginning the season on the NFI list means the rookie running back will miss at least the season's first six games. However, keeping Lattimore off injured reserve also leaves the door cracked -- however slightly -- for a potential return late in the season.

Lattimore told The Los Angeles Times last month that he was hoping to be ready by Week 10.

After being told Friday that he'd start the season on the NFI list, the running back said Harbaugh's decision was "cool with me."

"Things have been going good. Patience, that's all it is now," Lattimore said, per the San Jose Mercury News.

Less than one year removed from dislocating his right knee and tearing three ligaments, it's still a long, long shot for Lattimore to see the field in 2013. A proverbial redshirt season has been in the works since he was drafted in the fourth round. This was the next phase in that process, even if it appears to keep the running back's small flicker of hope alive.

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