Immediately after he was drafted in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers, running back Marcus Lattimore predicted that he would be back in pads within three to four months.
Two weeks later, Lattimore allowed that he would be willing to sit out his entire rookie season if that is the course recommended by the 49ers.
Lattimore now says he could suit up "without question" if he had to, but concedes he wouldn't be at peak form. Ten months removed from tearing three ligaments and dislocating his right knee, Lattimore acknowledges that he will almost certainly open the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
"My best-case scenario is in Week 10, something like that," Lattimore told Sam Farmer of The Los Angeles Times. "I get out there and will be full speed and ready to go."
If that's Lattimore's best-case scenario, it won't take a worst-case scenario to keep him on the PUP list for the entirety of the season.
Any contribution the 49ers get from Lattimore this season is a bonus. They acquired the rights to the 2013 NFL Draft's most intriguing wild card through a mid-round selection that originally wasn't even theirs.
In an ideal situation, Lattimore will have recovered enough to take the reins when Frank Gore's contract expires after the 2014 season.