Louisville’s sophomore guard Kevin Ware, a New York native whose family relocated to Rockdale County, Ga., for his high school years, is recovering from the scary injury he suffered in his team’s 85-63 win over Duke in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight game.
Ware underwent two hours of surgery in which his right tibia was reset, a rod was inserted in his leg and the open wound caused by the break was closed, Louisville announced. He was reportedly greeted by his teammates and the team’s NCAA tournament’s Midwest Region final trophy when he awoke from surgery.
Ware first moved to Atlanta when he was 14 years old and then settled in Rockdale County, a smaller more quiet area on the outskirts of Atlanta, where he attended Rockdale County High School. During his senior season he was named to Fayatte County’s Boys 2nd Team All-Metro list.
Ware is hoping to return to Atlanta where his team will play Wichita State after advancing to the Final Four. He is expected to remain in an Indianapolis hospital until Tuesday, while doctors monitor him for signs of infection and to make sure that blood flow has been restored in his leg.
Ware’s girlfriend was with him in the ambulance as he was taken from the arena. His mother, Lisa Junior, was watching the game on TV in Conyers and admitted that she “lost it” when CBS ran a replay of the injury. As her son headed to surgery around 8 p.m., he called to say (via SI.com), “Calm down, mom. I’m okay.”
Ware’s injury seemed to galvanize the Cardinals. After seeing Ware collapse on the floor with the bone in his leg, between his knee and foot literally sticking out from his skin, the cardinals missed four of their next five shots, but came together quickly to respond.
“We won this for him. We talked about it every timeout: ‘Bring Kevin home,’ ” Pitino said. Ware went to high school outside Atlanta. “As the bone’s six inches out of his leg, all he’s yelling is, ‘Win the game.’ I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Pitino reminded his players of that at the half. “I told them at halftime, I said, ‘Guys, if we don’t get him back home to Atlanta, it wasn’t worth playing this season,’” said Pitino. “And they did it.”