University of Louisville guard Kevin Ware underwent successful surgery at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Sunday night to repair a broken bone in his right leg.
Ware had the bone re-set, the wound from the injury closed and a rod inserted in his right tibia during approximately two hours of surgery. He suffered the injury with 6:33 remaining in the first half of the Cardinals’ 85-63 Midwest Regional Championship victory over Duke.
“It popped out of his skin,” University of Louisville Junior student Brian Benge, who watched the game from Louisville, said. “It was hard to watch.”
“It was nasty,” Matt Linton, who is a sophomore at the University of Louisville said. “I have never seen anything like that.”
Ware will remain in Indianapolis until at least Tuesday, when he is hopeful to return to Louisville and then join the Cardinals as they advance to the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta. A timetable has not been set for a return to basketball competition.
“He [Ware] said to me, ‘I’m okay. Just win the game,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “I got everybody over and said listen to him and he said, ‘Just win the game. I’ll be okay.”
“He gathered us together,” Pitino after the game said. “His words are how we focused and I said, ‘Guys, if we don’t get him home to Atlanta it was not worth playing this season.’ And they did it.”
Ware was a key backcourt reserve for the Cardinals, particularly during the last third of the season. He scored a career-high 11 points against Oregon on Friday in the regional semifinals and handed out a career-best five assists against Colorado State in the third round of the tournament. He has averaged 4.5 points and over 16 minutes a game for the 33-5 Cardinals.
Here at home, the chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at UofL said modern orthopedic treatments can enable University of Louisville men's basketball player Kevin Ware to come back from the devastating injury he sustained in the Cardinals' win over Duke Sunday.
Dr. Craig Roberts spoke about Ware's injury and his good chances for recovery after the Cardinals nailed a Final Four berth with an 85-63 win over the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Midwest Region final. During the first half, Ware, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, was contesting an outside shot in front of his own team's bench when he landed awkwardly. His leg buckled, bending almost at a right angle, causing a compound fracture of the tibia, commonly known as the shinbone, breaking the leg in two places.
Roberts has served as team physician for numerous high school, college and professional organizations. He currently serves as the team physician for the UofL field hockey team and said Ware's prognosis is promising.
"The outcome of compound fractures - also known as open fractures - of the tibia have come a long way from the days when they were universally fatal from bleeding or gangrene, or meant an immediate loss of limb, such as that depicted in the amputation scene from the movie 'Dances with the Wolves' with Kevin Costner. While they are still considered serious injuries, times have changed all for the better," Roberts said.
"Tremendous progress in the treatment of open fractures of the tibia has occurred to the point that they have become routine and common injuries at American trauma centers," he said. "The technique of fracture fixation of the tibial shaft usually involves what is known as intramedually nailing where a metal nail is placed in the center or medullary cavity of the bone, a technique which goes back to the German surgeon Gerhard Kuntcher more than 70 years ago."
"I anticipate that efficient, expert acute care of the wound and fractures, regular follow-up care for fracture and soft tissue healing, superb physical therapy and sports-specific rehabilitation, and a strong work ethic and great attitude will allow Keven Ware to come back before the end of next season. In fact, I think we will see tremendous progress as early as three months after injury," Roberts said.
Roberts received his medical degree from the New York University Medical School. After completing a one-year general surgery internship at New York University Medical Center/Bellevue Hospital and the Manhattan V.A. Medical Center, Roberts performed his orthopedic surgery residency at the same institutions, serving as chief resident his final year. He then accepted a two-year fellowship in Orthopedic Research, Sports Medicine, Biomechanics, Arthroscopy and Knee Reconstructive Surgery at the Cincinnati Sportsmedicine and Orthopedic Center.
He later earned his master's degree in business administration from Auburn University's physician executive MBA program. He joined the UofL faculty in 1993 and was named department chair in 2011.
You can send cards to Kevin Ware at 2432 S. Floyd Street, Louisville 40209.