SANTA CLARA -- Marcus Lattimore said Monday he expects to start the season on the 49ers’ non-football injury list, the second straight year the running back has begun the season on the list.
Lattimore spent all of his rookie season on NFI. The designation allowed him to practice with teammates during a three-week window, but he never was on the active roster. Because of that, his rookie contract tolled, meaning that he’ll only have accrued three years of service when his original four-year deal is up.
Team doctors remain wary of the knee injury Lattimore suffered in October 2012 at South Carolina. He practiced with teammates during spring drills but was placed on the NFI list to begin training camp. Neither Jim Harbaugh nor general manager Trent Baalke have given any details about what is keeping Lattimore back and team doctors are not available to the media.
Last month, Baalke said the running back was “close” to returning to the field. On August 15, Harbaugh said, “He’s doing well. There’s been gains, but that’s where we’re at. Not quite there yet.” Lattimore said he had resigned himself to starting the season on an injury list again and said he was doing ok mentally.
Any player who starts the season on NFI must sit out at least the first six weeks. The player does not count against the 53-man squad during that time. Draft picks Brandon Thomas, Keith Reaser and Trey Millard also are expected to begin the year on NFI.