SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Marcus Lattimore knows Friday is coming.
"It's rough," Lattimore said Wednesday as he prepared for his final practice week of the season.
The former South Carolina star running back, who the San Francisco 49ers drafted in the fourth round of the April draft, is in the third week of a three-week window where the NFL allows players coming off injuries to participate in practice.
As has been the plan, the 49ers will shut down Lattimore for the rest of the season. He will not be able to practice or even be on the practice field after Friday. He will be able to attend meetings and continue to work out.
Lattimore had a horrific knee injury in which he tore the three major ligaments in October, 2012. He thought his promising career was over when he suffered the injury. But the 49ers took Lattimore, widely considered the top back in the draft before his injury, with an eye for the future.
Lattimore deemed the three-week window a smashing success.
"It's been awesome," Lattimore said. "I've gotten better every week. It's been better than I even thought it would be. I got my confidence back."
Lattimore said " 'without a doubt' he is ready to play right now. However, he said the team is sticking to its plans of shelving him until next year.
"Really, I'm grateful for that," Lattimore said. "As I a player I want to push it, but the team is taking care of me ... There's no doubt, I will have a role next year."
Lattimore said he plans to get stronger and faster in the offseason. He will train in Pensacola, Florida.
"Then, I will come back and be ready to play," Lattimore said. "Waiting is going to be brutal."