Marcus Lattimore optimistic for 2013

Marcus Lattimore, the South Carolina running back who suffered a devastating knee injury less than three months ago, hopes to be ready to play by the start of the 2013 NFL season.

Lattimore claimed that Dr. James Andrews told him that his recovery progress is "nothing short of a miracle" and that the renowned surgeon thinks his rehabilitation is "way ahead of schedule."

Lattimore, who was visiting Senior Bowl practice on Tuesday, said his personal outlook for the 2013 season became more optimistic after meeting with Andrews several weeks ago.

"When Dr. Andrews came in to see me, he said, 'You're doing remarkable; you're doing everything you can,' " Lattimore told multiple media outlets. "His words were, 'You're going to shock the world.' That's what Dr. Andrews said."

Once considered a likely first-round pick, Lattimore saw his draft stock plummet on Oct. 27, when he dislocated his right knee and tore several ligaments while being tackled against Tennessee.

It was the second major knee injury for Lattimore, who also missed half of the 2011 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee.

But Lattimore said Tuesday he never considered quitting football and stated that he doesn't feel sorry for himself.

"I feel like 80 percent of it is mental," he told multiple media outlets. "If you don't do your rehab, if you keep asking yourself, 'Why me?' your knee reacts to that. You have to stay positive, or you're not going to come back."

Despite the multiple injuries, Lattimore opted last month to forgo his senior year at South Carolina and enter the 2013 draft. He said Tuesday that he already has met with several NFL teams but acknowledged that he doesn't know where -- or if -- he will be drafted.

"It could be first (round), it could be undrafted," he said.