Louisville guard Kevin Ware, who sustained compound fractures to his right tibia in the first half of Sunday’s 85-63 victory over Duke, has been cleared to travel with the Cardinals to his hometown Atlanta for Saturday’s Final Four game against Wichita State.
Ware, who underwent surgery immediately after sustaining the gruesome injury, gave his first on-camera interview Wednesday morning with ESPN.
“A lot of the guys are still trying to get over the fact of me being out, not being able to play,” Ware said. “But I told them, ‘You all are going to be hearing the same out of me.’”
The sophomore guard said that his injury was a freak accident, occurring after he contested a jump shot and did not see where he was landing.
There was some speculation that Ware may have had a prior stress fracture or shin problems that caused the injury of such magnitude, but he said he did not.
“I just want to win at this point,” Ware told ESPN’s Rece Davis. “That would mean so much more to me than anything.”
Defeating the Shockers and winning a national championship would be even more rewarding for Ware, as he would be in his hometown of Atlanta. Ware played high school basketball at Rockdale County High School, just outside the city, before moving to New York to finish his high school basketball career in the Bronx.
Ware returned to campus on Tuesday after he was released from an Indianapolis hospital. He will use crutches for the next eight to 12 weeks before he can start rehabilitation, which will take at least a year.
“The most important thing to me is he’s going to be fine again some day. He’s going to play basketball,” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino told ESPN Wednesday. “As long as I know that, everything going to be fine.”
Ware said he has no intentions of ever watching the replay of how he broke his leg, because the injury is now in the past. He acknowledged that if he were to see the replay, it would affect his mental state.
But he said if the Cardinals win the national championship, he would not hesitate to help his teammates and coaches cut down the nets.