INDIANAPOLIS – A gruesome injury that left Louisville guard Kevin Ware with a broken leg plunged Lucas Oil Stadium into horrified silence, with coach Rick Pitino wiping away tears and shocked teammates openly weeping during Sunday’s Midwest Regional final.
Ware’s right leg bent in such an awkward and frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays shortly after the fall in the NCAA tournament matchup against Duke.
The bone’s 6 inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, Win the game, win the game,’ said Pitino, whose team won 85-63.. I’ve not seen that in my life. ... Pretty special young man.
Viewers who watched the injury on TV reacted on social networks and #KevinWare shot to one of the top worldwide trending topics on Twitter.
Video of the injury was posted on YouTube – CBS initially replayed it twice before changing course.
With 6:33 left in the first half, Ware tried to contest a three-pointer by Tyler Thornton. Ware’s leg buckled when he landed, bending almost at a right angle.
School officials said Ware was taken to Methodist Hospital with a broken lower right leg. He had surgery Sunday night.
Louisville trainer Fred Hina said Ware needed surgery immediately because of the risk for infection with an open fracture.
In the immediate aftermath, those who saw the game on television took to social media to express their concern.
Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann, who famously suffered a broken leg on Monday Night Football in a game against the New York Giants, tweeted that, Watching Duke/ Louisville my heart goes out to Kevin Ware.
Dr. Reed Estes, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and team physician for the UAB football team, said Ware’s injury looks like a pretty bad break to both his tibia and fibula, the two long bones in the lower leg.