Louisville guard Kevin Ware, who suffered a gruesome leg injury in Sunday’s Elite Eight victory, received a phone call from someone who can relate.
“He got some phone calls from Joe Theismann, who went through the same type of injury,” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. “A lot of really positive calls that are making him feel good.”
Ware was recovering in an Indianapolis hospital after undergoing surgery Sunday night after his leg bones snapped when he landed awkwardly in the battle with Duke.
Pitino said Ware is expected to make a full recovery, but it will be a long one. Ware plans to travel with the team to the Final Four in Atlanta, where he will sit on the bench with the team.
The freak injury was caused by the way Ware landed.
“Basically he got up in the air and (when he landed) his leg went one way and his shoe went another and the bone split,” Pitino said. “There’s no pre-existing thing that makes it do that.”
Ware is upbeat, Pitino said.
“He’s terrific,” he said. “He’s in great spirits.”
Ware tweeted on Monday: “I’m thankful for all the support I’m receiving right now. Never thought I’d be the talk of the country.”
Ware is walking on crutches to help blood flow, and doctors are monitoring him to prevent infection.
“Right before the surgery, when he was able to watch the players at the press conference, the nurses and doctors told me that was the first time he broke down and cried, when the players were talking about him,” Pitino said.
Pitino took the Final Four trophy to Ware in the hospital.
“He was real excited about it,” he said. “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.’ He’s very excited.”
Going way back: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was an up-and-comer establishing the Orange as a top-notch program. John Beilein was in the NAIA ranks at Le Moyne College in Syracuse in the 1980s and early ’90s wondering if he’d ever get a shot at coaching in Division I.
Beilein credits Boeheim as being a supporter during his early years.
The two will meet in the Final Four as coaches of No. 4 seeds with Beilein now leading Michigan.
“Jim would be in the stands watching a game on occasion,” Beilein said. “I had a couple of clinics at Le Moyne, he helped me, brought his team over. He really helped me get the Canisius job, no question. I was a borderline candidate. He really got me on the board. Ended up getting the job. That was 20 years ago. So I owe him a lot, and admire him a lot as well.”
Boeheim said he isn’t surprised by Beilein’s success.
“I remember him at Erie, Le Moyne, Canisius, Richmond, you name it,” he said. “West Virginia. He’s won at every place he’s been. That’s difficult to do,”