Kevin Ware is already up and walking, and he’s got a nice souvenir to keep him company until he’s cleared to return to Louisville.
Cardinals men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino brought the Midwest Regional championship trophy when he visited Ware, who remains hospitalized after surgery to repair a gruesome fracture in his right leg.
“He was real excited about (the trophy),” Pitino said after visiting Ware Monday morning. “I said to him, ‘You want me to bring it back or stay with you?’ He said, ‘It’s staying with me.’ I said, ‘All right, just make sure you don’t lose it.’ ”
During a two-hour surgery Sunday night, doctors reset Ware’s broken tibia and inserted a rod into the bone. Doctors are monitoring Ware to make sure no infection develops. If there are no complications, he should be released today.
The Cardinals plan to leave for the Final Four in Atlanta on Wednesday night, and Pitino said they expect to have Ware with them. Ware, originally from New York City, moved to the Atlanta area before high school.
“He gets to go home, be with his family and be with us on the bench,” Pitino said. “He’s in very good spirits and anxious to get … back with the guys.”
Ware’s right leg snapped in the first half of Sunday’s Midwest Regional final when he landed awkwardly after trying to contest a 3-point shot. The horrific injury devastated his teammates.
Before Ware was wheeled off the court on a stretcher, he repeatedly urged the Cardinals to “just go win the game.”
The Cardinals did, beating Duke 85-63 to reach their second straight Final Four, and they said afterward there was no way they could have let Ware down.
Pitino said hospital staff told him that when Ware was watching the post-game press conference before his surgery “was the first time he broke down and cried, when the players were talking about him.”