During the the NCAA Elite Eight game between Duke University and the University of Louisville came an injury that could be hailed one of the most brutal of tournament history.
Sophomore Louisville guard Kevin Ware during the second part of the first half appeared to have snapped his leg in half. Officials confirmed the break to several reporters. Trainers immediately covered the leg with a towel and placed Ware on a backboard, then lifted him onto a stretcher.
Here are pictures of the scene:
Editor’s note: The picture just above of Kevin Ware with ice on his legs was taken in the locker room on Saturday…the day before his horrific injury.
Sports Nation reporter Roger Sherman described the injury as looking as “horrible as soon as it happened — we’re gonna go ahead and not show it to you; it’s really not the type of injury that’s typical in a basketball game — but I think you can pretty much gauge how bad it was from the reactions of his teammates and coach Rick Pitino.”
Teammates fell on the court, wiping their eyes in emotion seeing Ware’s state. Duke players too were filled with compassion toward their opponent.
Here is footage of the scene (Note: it might be consider graphic to some):
The injury occurred with 6:33 left in the first half as Duke’s Tyler Thornton made a 3-pointer to get the Blue Devils within 21-20. Ware tried to contest the shot and his leg buckled when he landed, bending gruesomely.
The injury happened in front of the Louisville bench, and the Cardinals were overcome with emotion. Russ Smith collapsed onto the floor, along with several players, and was clearly crying as doctors attended to Ware. As Ware was being loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered at midcourt until coach Pitino called them over, saying that Ware wanted to talk to them before he left.
Louisville forward Wayne Blackshear fell to the floor, crying, and Chane Behanan looked as if he was going to be sick on the court, kneeling on his hands and feet. Peyton Siva sat a few feet away, a hand covering his mouth. Luke Hancock patted Ware’s chest as doctors worked on the sophomore and Russ Smith – who is from New York City like Ware – walked away, pulling his jersey over his eyes.Someone finally pulled Behanan to his feet, but he doubled over and needed a few seconds to gather himself.
As Ware was being loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered and Pitino wiped away his eyes as Ware was wheeled out, as did several of the Louisville players. In the immediate aftermath, those who had been watching the game on television took to social media to express their concern.
Our thoughts go out to Louisville’s Kevin Ware. Hate to see that happen to any athlete. Here’s to a speedy recovery.
— ESPN (@espn) March 31, 2013
— Michael Jordan (@itsMichaelJ) March 31, 2013
Kevin Ware told his teammates: “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be OK. You guys go win this thing.” (via @tracywolfson)
— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) March 31, 2013
Tournament officials said Ware was taken to a nearby Methodist Hospital but no additional information was immediately available
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, who famously sustained a broken leg during a Monday night football game against the New York Giants, tweeted that, “Watching Duke/ Louisville my heart goes out to Kevin Ware.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.