City Sports Report

Kevin Ware: The Journey Back

Kevin Ware has made his way back to the tournament. (Photo courtesy

Kevin Ware was a guard on the 2013 Louisville team that was building momentum toward a championship run. He was a guard the Cardinals coach Rick Pitino depended on to bring energy when he was on the floor. But in one instant, his career and potentially his way of life was changed instantly. Ware was contesting a shot for the Cardinals with a little under seven minutes left in the first half. He went up and gave a good contest, but when he landed, he came down and his leg crumbled. Ware writhed in pain as his leg literally broke in two, the bone poking through his skin. It was definite that he was going to be out for a while. His teammates, including current Memphis Grizzlies backup point guard Russ Smith, broke down in tears. Their friend and teammate was down and there was no notion to how serious it was. But the feeling was that Ware could be done not only for the rest of the postseason, but for the rest of his career. Louisville would go on to win the 2013 national title and play for their fallen teammate. Who would know that the journey back would provide some different turns and roadblocks along the way back?

Ware did well in his recovery and progressed faster than anyone thought he would. There were videos of him being shown dunking the basketball after the injury. Many were very interested to see how he would come back and many wanted to see him succeed. Surprisingly, in a November 2013 exhibition versus Pike University, Ware made his return to the lineup. With 13:49 remaining, Ware entered the game. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he entered and wanted so much for great things to happen for him. And by his own admission, he was tentative at the beginning. But as the game went on, he would get back to doing the things he was accustomed to doing. Ware would go on to score six points in ten minutes in Louisville’s 90-61 exhibition victory. It was thought that Ware was on his way back, but then another roadblock hit him. Ware would reinjure his leg in December and he would take a resdshirt. After the season was over, Ware decided that he was going to transfer from the school. It was known that he wanted to transfer back near home in Georgia. It was an entirely unexpected move, but he wanted to go back close to home from what was known. He was loved in Louisville by the fans and his teammates, but he had to do what he felt was best for him.

The journey of playing basketball again led Ware to Georgia State University. The Atlanta-based university was a place where he was welcomed by head coach Ron Hunter. The NCAA, who usually has players sit out after transferring to another Division 1 program, allowed Ware to be eligible to play this season. After all he had gone through with his leg, it was finally good for him to get some good news. The junior would go on to be a part of the Panthers’ 15-5 season in conference and on Sunday, he had an opportunity to help lead the Panthers to the NCAA tournament. The Panthers were without their second-leading scorer, Ryan Harrow, due to a hamstring strain. The team needed someone to step up. And who else could it be but Kevin Ware. The Panthers would go out and win a low-scoring affair 38-36. And what was even more amazing was the way Ware carried his team. Ware scored 18 of the team’s 38 points as he willed his team to winning the game. And it is because of his efforts that he will be helping take the Panthers back to the NCAA tournament. Ware is now headed back to a place where he had one of his worst injuries and moments. But this time he is headed back to create a new memory and not to revel in the past. Ware has finally made it back. The leg injury he overcame is now a thing of the past. And he will now be going on to his future. He fought to come back and even through setbacks and a change of scenery, he is still out there on the court, striving to be better and help his team everyday.

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  1. Dori Longino

    March 16, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Now there’s an injury that will stay grained in my mind forever! I think it’s fair to say this young man had an entire world praying for him!

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