Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome injury in the team’s Elite 8 game on Sunday afternoon.
The sophomore broke his leg towards the end of the second half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke. After landing on his feet, Ware fractured his right tibia and saw the bone in his leg break through his skin.
Ware’s teammates had a tough time watching the guard break his leg. Those that were on the court fell to the floor, barely able to watch their friend in pain. Junior guard Russ Smith started to cry after the horrific injury.
The injury occurred right in front of the Louisville bench, so Ware’s teammates got an up close view of his broken leg. They were immediately jolted by the sight of Ware’s bone protruding out of his leg. Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times initially reported on Twitter that several Cardinal players appeared to vomit on the bench.
Lying on the sidelines in pain, Ware rallied his teammates and encouraged them to defeat Duke without him.
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“Win the game, win the game,” Ware told his teammates, according to head coach Rick Pitino, who was wiping away tears when he saw the injury.
Chane Behanan, one of Ware’s teammates and closest friends, said the injured player assured the team that he would be fine.
“Don't worry about me, I'm good, I'll have my surgery tonight," Ware said, according to Behanan.” Go win it for me."
Pitino likened the injury to one that former Louisville football player Michael Bush suffered. The running back, who broke his leg in 2006, made a full recovery and made his NFL debut in 2008.
The Cardinals did exactly what Ware asked of them. They dominated the Blue Devils, outscoring them by 19 points in the second half of their 85-63 win. The victory sets up Louisville in a contest with Wichita State on Saturday in the Final Four of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Ware is from Atlanta, where Louisville will try to win the championship for their teammate. The national title game will be held on Monday in Ware’s hometown.
After the win, Ware underwent successful surgery to reset the bone in his leg. The operation lasted approximately two hours. No timetable has been set for Ware’s recovery, but sports medicine director Fred Hina says the injury shouldn’t threaten the player’s career.
"Because it was a weight-bearing bone and it was such a difficult injury, it will take a while," said Hina, who helped stabilize Ware after the injury.. "But he will play again."
Following the contest, Russ Smith posted a picture of Ware in recovery on Instagram. Ware was in his hospital bed, holding the team’s trophy for winning the Midwest Region.
Below is a video of Ware’s injury, as well as the reaction of his teammates.
[Warning: Video contains graphic images]