Less than 24 hours after suffering a gruesome leg fracture during the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, Louisville guard Kevin Ware was already up and getting around his hospital room on crutches.
The 20-year-old sophomore was injured while contesting a shot by Tyler Thornton of Duke in the first half of the regional final on Sunday. The graphic nature of the injury to his right leg and emotional reactions of his teammates captured the attention of the nation. Ware was stretchered off the court at Lucas Oil Stadium and taken to nearby Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. He underwent successful surgery on Sunday night. School officials told The Associated Press that the surgery lasted two hours and that doctors reset the bone, broken in two places, and inserted a rod into his right tibia.
On Monday, Louisville coach Rick Pitino was among those who visited Ware at the hospital. He brought the trophy awarded to Louisville for defeating Duke in the final in the Midwest Region. Kenny Klein, the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations at Louisville, shared a picture of the visit on Twitter.
"He was real excited about (the trophy)," Pitino said after visiting Ware, via The Associated Press. "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.'"
Klein also shared an image of Ware out of bed and using crutches to get around. In both pictures shared by Klein, Ware was sporting a Final Four cap.
After his visit, Pitino told ESPN that Ware was in "good spirits" and will come with the team to the Final Four at the Georgia Dome.
"The doctors here have been tremendous. The hospital has been tremendous. And the operated right away on him. He's not in any pain. So, we're real pleased with that, Pitino said. "He'll come back tomorrow to Louisville and travel with the team to Atlanta."