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Marcus Lattimore Returns to Practice on 23rd Birthday

Posted Oct 30, 2014

The second-year San Francisco 49ers running back celebrated his date of birth in a unique way on Wednesday.

Most of us enjoy a good cake to celebrate our birthdays.

For Marcus Lattimore, a football workout with shoulder pads, helmet, mouthpiece and Gatorade breaks sufficed.

That's exactly what the second-year San Francisco 49ers running back experienced on Wednesday. The fourth-round draft pick made his 2014 practice debut on his 23rd birthday. The 49ers are preparing to face the St. Louis Rams this Sunday, and they'll do so with added help in the backfield.

After being cleared to return to pratice, Lattimore now has a 21-day window to work out with the team. He could be activated off of the Non-Football Injury List and added to the 53-man roster, which currently stands at 52. Lattimore had the same opportunity last season, but the 49ers medical staff ultimately decided to keep him off the 53-man roster.

"This is special," Jim Harbaugh said of Lattimore's latest return. "It’s also his birthday. He’s excited."

The running back's practice debut saw the 5-foot-11, 221-pound runner wearing a red, number 36 jersey – a scout-team uniform that signals he'll be mimicking Rams running back Benny Cunningham this week.

Lattimore's rehabilitation experience has been well documented. He suffered two devastating knee injuries at South Carolina, the second of which put him on a slow timetable to return to the field. Lattimore tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in an Oct. 27, 2012 matchup against the University of Tennessee.

Lattimore said he's come to grips with what happened and feels like he's in a better place mentally and physically.

"I didn’t have any confidence going out there last year," said Lattimore, who took part in offseason workouts with the 49ers in Organized Team Activities before being limited in the team's mandatory veteran minicamp. "But that’s the main thing; I feel strong. My knee feels better.

"It was a huge injury. I didn’t know it was going to take this long, but I feel good."

Lattimore credited his family members, teammates and coaches for keeping his spriits up during his time off of the field.

"We’ve got a great group of guys," Lattimore said. "It’s uncommon to have this kind of guys in here."

One of those teammates, Colin Kaepernick, supported Lattimore's journey back to the field.

"He’s looked good," the starting quarterback said. "I think he’s ready to go. We’ll see what he does this week in practice."

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