Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome injury at the NCAA Midwest Regional basketball final Sunday as he broke his leg attempting to block a shot by Duke forward Tyler Thornton.
During the Elite Eight battle in Indianapolis, Thornton went for a three-point shot with 6:33 left in the first half. At the time, Louisville was up, 21-17. Ware jumped up to block the shot, failed to do so and broke his leg coming down.
A bone in Ware’s lower right leg was exposed after the injury, according to eyewitness accounts reported by USA Today. The incident was captured during televised coverage of the game.
"His bone was sticking out of his shin," Richard Pitino, the head coach of Florida International and a former assistant coach at Louisville who had recruited Ware and was sitting about 25 feet from him at the time of the injury, told USA Today. "I'm only 30, but I've never seen something like that. It felt like canceling the game. You feel almost silly cheering [after that]."
Following Ware’s injury, officials delayed the game for about 10 minutes while the sophomore was placed on a stretcher and taken to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino speculated that it could take as long as a year for Ware to come back from his injury.
"Basically, the bone popped out of the skin," Pitino said on the CBS telecast after the game, according to USA Today. "It broke in two spots. it will take a year for him to come back. He'll come back better than ever.
According to ESPN, Ware called his coach and teammates over to his side before he was taken to the hospital and told them to continue playing. Following the incident, Ware’s Louisville squad pressed on to beat the Duke team, 85-63. The team will advance on to the Final Four as the only No. 1 seeded team to make it to Atlanta for the conclusion of the tournament.
Watch a video of Ware’s on-court accident below. [Warning: Graphic imagery.]