The San Francisco 49ers have been activating numerous injured players over the last two weeks, and will continue to do so when Michael Crabtree is ready to join the 53-man roster. In the meantime, rookie running back Marcus Lattimore continues to rehab his way back from the brutal right knee injury he suffered last season at South Carolina.
That rehab could be coming to a head in the next week as Lattimore indicated he hoped and somewhat expected to be activated to practice with the rest of the team. Here are beat writer stories on the topic:
The team has until next Tuesday to bring him back to practice. If they do not get Lattimore back to practice by Tuesday, he will be moved to injured reserve. Activating him for practice does not mean he would join the 53-man roster. Rather, he would be able to practice for three weeks. During that time, the team could add him to the 53-man roster. If after three weeks he is not added to the 53-man roster, they would have to move him to injured reserve.
At this point, if Lattimore is activated, the odds are pretty high it would only be for the three weeks of practice, and not to be added to the 53-man roster.
In Barrows' article, Lattimore described the chance to practice as a sort of carrot on the stick of rehab. He has not been assured of anything by the coaches, but based on the three articles, he seems fairly confident he will get a chance to join practice.
Maiocco's article gave us a little more detail about Lattimore's regular rehab schedule. According to Maiocco, Lattimore does speed work on Monday and Friday, and does tempo running on Tuesday and Thursday. The team works in rest days as part of the rehab process. Michael Crabtree is on a similar schedule, which explains why he was not practicing yesterday.
In his discussion with the media, Lattimore spoke about how much he has learned from the running backs and position coach Tom Rathman.
"I've learned more in these four months than I've ever learned as far as how the defense plays, how to read fronts, how to read linebackers, coverage ... I know so much about the game in the last four months, (more) than I've learned in the last 18 years. So it's been big."
We won't know much about how practice goes during this coming stretch, but it still leaves me excited for what the future holds. The 49ers used a lottery ticket on Lattimore, but it is one that would seemingly have much better odds than your average lottery ticket. And the 49ers manner of handling Lattimore's rehab should only boost the odds.