INDIANAPOLIS – Horrified teammates wept as a player’s leg bone snapped during one of the most closely watched U.S. college basketball games of the year.
“The bone’s 6 inches (152 millimeters) out of his leg, and all he’s yelling is, ‘Win the game, win the game,'” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who wiped away tears Sunday as national television quickly backed away from showing replays of Kevin Ware’s nasty fall. “I’ve not seen that in my life.”
(hash)KevinWare shot to one of the top worldwide trending topics on Twitter. Video of the injury was posted on YouTube.
And Ware’s teammates went on to surge past Duke, 85-63, to win one of just four spots in the race to the national finals.
Ware’s right leg bent in such an awkward, frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays. Team officials said the leg was broken in two places.
Louisville star Russ Smith heard the break, and Chane Behanan, Ware’s closest friend, couldn’t believe what was happening.
“The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out,” said Behanan, who collapsed to his hands and knees at the sight.
The injury happened right in front of the team. Behanan looked as if he was going to be sick.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Behanan said. “I don’t remember the last time I cried.”
Dr. Frederick Azar, a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, said Ware “jumped pretty far horizontally and vertically, and he landed with a twist,” which puts so much torsion and stress on the bones they could have just snapped.
Louisville, the top overall seed in the tournament, went more than 3 minutes without scoring after the accident but regained its composure.
“We won this for him,” Pitino said.
Behanan switched into Ware’s No. 5 jersey near the end of the game.