Kevin Ware is already on crutches and walking after a horrific injury in the NCAA Tournament left him with a broken tibia.
Ware had jumped to contest a deep shot in the Louisville Cardinals Elite Eight game against Duke on Sunday. When he landed on his leg just in front of his team’s bench, the weight of his body caused the leg snap in half, to the horror of his teammates.
Doctors performed surgery to insert a metal rod around the break, and by Monday Kevin Ware was on crutches.
“Hopefully I’ll be back in time to watch practice,” Ware said on Monday about his surgery. “It hurts but I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.”
Initially, Ware didn’t even realize how serious of an injury he had suffered.
“I jumped and my leg felt kind of funny,” he said. “When Coach P tried to help me up, he gave me a funny kind of look. I’m looking at him and then I look down and I see my bone sticking out. It wasn’t a hurt feeling. I just went into shock. In the moment, you don’t know what’s wrong with you. You’re just looking, thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ I never watched the replay. I never want to.”
But Ware remained calm throughout the ordeal. As he was being prepped for surgery, he borrowed a phone from a nurse to call his mother and let her know that he was all right.
“He didn’t even say hello,” Lisa Junior said. “He just said, ‘Mom, I need you to calm down.’ He knew I’d be a mess. Once I heard his voice, I was better.”
Ware is expected to remain in the hospital until at least Tuesday, but said he hopes to rejoin his team in the Final Four in Atlanta.
“He’s doing terrific,” Pitino said on a Final Four conference call (via Yahoo’s Pat Forde). “He’s in great spirits.”
Ware is expected to recover from his injury, and the rehabilitation process has already started. The Louisville Athletic Department sent pictures of him in his room at Indianapolis’s Methodist Hospital, including one of Kevin Ware standing on crutches.