Louisville guard Kevin Ware’s broke his leg in such an awkward and frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays shortly after the fall in the NCAA tournament matchup against Duke.
Coach Rick Pitino cried and teammates openly weeped after seeing the perturbing bones from the gruesome injury of their lead player during the Sunday’s Midwest Regional final.
Ware was taken into surgery at Methodist Hospital after the game to repair the injury. School officials said the leg, broken in two places, was reset and a rod inserted into his right tibia, according to Fox Sports.
“The bone’s 6 inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, ‘win the game, win the game,” Pitino said, during the after-game press conference. “I’ve not seen that in my life…Pretty special young man.”
The injury occurred after ware jumped for a 3-pointer. Ware’s leg buckled when he landed, bending almost at a right angle.
Chane Behanan, Ware’s closest friend, was shocked at what happened.
“The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out,” said Louisville teammate Behanna, who collapsed to his hands and feet at the sight.
Two doctors speculated Ware might have had stress fractures that predisposed him to such a break, according to Fox Sports. Pitno said it was the same injury former Louisville running back Michael Bush had in football. Bush, now with Chicago Bears, has recovered to have a productive NFL career.
Louisville guard Kevin Ware talks with teammate Luke Hancock before being lifted onto a stretcher and taken off the court with a broken leg in the first half of an NCAA tournament Midwest Regional final Sunday in Indianapolis. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images / March 31, 2013)
As the top overall seed in the NCAA tourney, Louisville regained its composure to take a 35-32 halftime lead and went on to an 85-63 victory.
Ware, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from the Bronx was instrumental in Louisville’s victory over Oregon in the regional semifinals. He is the key backcourt reserve for the Cardinals.
Ware is expected to remain in Indianapolis until at least Tuesday. The school says he will then return to Louisville and hopes to join his teammates on their trip to Atlanta for the Final Four.