COLUMBIA — South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore faces a long road back after tearing multiple right knee ligaments Oct. 27 against Tennessee.
Next GameWHO: No. 12 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2 SEC) vs. Arkansas (4-5, 2-3)WHEN: Saturday, noonWHERE: Williams-Brice StadiumTV: WCSC (CBS)LINE: USC by 14
But doctors believe he won’t need more than one surgery to repair the ligaments, according to USC running backs coach Everette Sands. Lattimore underwent surgery Friday and has already begun his rehab, Sands said.
The news that Lattimore likely won’t require another surgery is good for him, because multiple ligament tears sometimes require multiple surgeries, which can prolong the recovery process. Still, there is no timetable yet for Lattimore’s recovery, Sands said. USC head coach Steve Spurrier has said Lattimore might not be available to play until the 2014 season.
Sands tried to uplift Lattimore by telling him about Rickey Anderson, a running back who Sands coached at The Citadel.
Anderson tore his anterior cruciate ligament as a high school senior, Sands said. At The Citadel, he has twice torn knee ligaments and once broke his leg. Anderson is now a sixth-year senior with 46 carries for 386 yards and seven touchdowns this year.
Sands said he talked to Lattimore about Anderson to show him “Hey, you can come back from this.” After Sands described Anderson’s injuries and recovery, Lattimore asked Sands, “What’s his (phone) number?”
As USC moves on without Lattimore for the season’s final four games, starting Saturday afternoon at home against Arkansas, Sands said fifth-year senior Kenny Miles and true freshman Mike Davis, the highest-rated recruit in USC’s Class of 2012, will likely split carries more than Lattimore did with Miles. Lattimore carried 143 times this year. Miles has 42 carries, Davis 24.
“In my mind, it’s probably more a 60/40 (split between Miles and Davis), and with Marcus it was more of an 80/20,” Sands said. “If somebody gets a hot hand, I might ride them a little bit more, but we’ll see.”
Sands said the coaches still plan to redshirt Brandon Wilds, who started last season as a true freshman after Lattimore got hurt.
“He’ll dress out,” Sands said of Wilds. “He’s ready to go if we need him, but if we don’t have to use him, then we won’t.”
Clowney still nursing foot
USC’s best remaining available player, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, limped off the field after Wednesday’s practice — a common sight recently. Clowney has been playing through a right foot injury since hurting it Sept. 29 at Kentucky.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward has described it as a deep bruise. Coach Steve Spurrier likened it to the stress fracture that free safety D.J. Swearinger played through late last season. Clowney said he isn’t sure about the nature of the injury, but he plans to keep playing.
“I just know it hurts real bad when I’m out here,” he said. “I can’t run full speed right now. We’re going to have to figure out what it is after the season.”
Spurrier said Clowney has been limited to about half-practices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and that he might require surgery after the season. Clowney said he plays through the injury during games without a pain-killing shot.
Clowney said his foot started to feel better “a little bit over the break (last week), but coming out here and running on it (again this week) is making it get back to where it was.”
Clowney estimated he is about 85 percent healthy.
“I need to be 100,” he said. “I want to be 100.”
Holloman getting comfortable in role
Unlike last season, USC coaches were able to follow through this season on their wishes to play DeVonte Holloman at spur outside linebacker. Holloman, a senior, was the starting strong safety the past two seasons.
He currently ranks third on the team with 40 tackles, including 6˝ for loss (second only to Clowney’s 15) and two sacks, plus two interceptions and three pass breakups.
He said he has adjusted to spur by “reacting faster to the run and the pass and taking on linemen, as opposed to in the beginning, I kind of had a (defensive back’s) mindset, which is I’ve got a couple seconds to wait and see what’s going on. When you’re a little bit closer (to the line) everything is happening a lot faster.”
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