Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome lower right leg injury against Duke in the Elite Eight of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
"I don't know if in basketball I've ever seen one like that," Jim Nantz of CBS said as medical personnel attended to Ware. Trainers quickly covered his leg with towels due to the graphic nature of the injury.
With the sophomore who attended high school near Atlanta in agony near the Louisville bench, some of his teammates fell to the floor and later wept over the apparent severity of the injury. Ware had attempted to contest a three-point attempt from Tyler Thornton of Duke when his leg buckled beneath him.
WARNING: VIDEO BELOW IS GRAPHIC
Louisville led 21-20 at the time of the injury. Play was stopped for several minutes before resuming with 6:33 remaining in the first half.
Several minutes after Ware was stretchered off the court, Tracy Wolfson of CBS reported that the team had confirmed it was a broken leg and that the player had been transported to a Methodist Hospital near Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein later told The Associated Press that hospital officials indicated Ware was "resting comfortably" before the game was completed and that his pain was "under control."
After Louisville defeated Duke, 85-63, Pitino spoke to Wolfson on the court about Ware.
"The bone's 6 inches out of his leg and all he's yelling is, 'Win the game, win the game,'" Pitino said on the court. "I've not seen that in my life. ... Pretty special young man."
As Louisville celebrated its Final Four berth, Chane Behanan wore Ware's No. 5 jersey.
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Nantz' assessment of the injury being the worst he had seen in a basketball game was widely echoed on Twitter by members of the basketball media.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW
The graphic nature of the incident reminded many of the devastating leg injury suffered by Joe Theismann in 1985. The former Washington Redskins quarterback was among those whose thoughts were with Ware on Sunday.
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INDIANAPOLIS — Louisville guard Kevin Ware badly injured his lower right leg during the Midwest Regional final against Duke on Sunday and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher.
A game official told several reporters that a bone snapped. Trainers immediately covered the leg with a towel and placed Ware on a backboard, then lifted him onto a stretcher.
He was taken to nearby Methodist Hospital, according to a statement from tournament officials. Louisville officials said no additional information was immediately available.
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.
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 at midcourt until coach Rick Pitino called them over, saying that Ware wanted to talk to them before he left.
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. 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."
Louisville, the top overall seed in the tourney, went more than 3 minutes without scoring after the injury but regained its composure to take a 35-32 halftime lead.