Louisville’s Kevin Ware resting after surgery

Kevin Ware is already up and walking, and he’s got a nice souvenir to keep him company until he’s cleared to return to Louisville.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino brought the Midwest Regional championship trophy when he visited Ware, who remains hospitalized after surgery to repair a gruesome fracture in his right leg.

“He was real excited about (the trophy),” Pitino said after visiting Ware again Monday morning. “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.’”

During a 2-hour surgery Sunday night, doctors reset Ware’s broken tibia and inserted a rod into the bone. Because the bone broke through the skin, Pitino said doctors are monitoring Ware to make sure no infection develops. If there are no complications, he should be released today.

The Cardinals plan to leave Wednesday night for the Final Four in Atlanta and Pitino said they expect to have Ware with them. Ware is originally from New York City, but he moved to the Atlanta area before high school.

“He gets to go home, be with his family and be with us on the bench,” Pitino said. “He’s in very good spirits and anxious to get out of the hospital and get back with the guys.”

Ware’s right leg snapped in the first half of Sunday’s Midwest Regional final when he landed awkwardly after trying to contest a 3-point shot. The horrific injury devastated his teammates, and several fell to the court crying. Chane Behanan, Ware’s best friend on the team, had to be helped to his feet.

But before Ware was wheeled off the court on a stretcher, he repeatedly urged the Cardinals to “just go win the game.” The Cardinals did, beating Duke 85-63 to reach their second straight Final Four, and they said afterward there was no way they could have let Ware down.

“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.

Ware’s injury dominated social media Sunday night, and Pitino said the sophomore guard has been moved by all the messages of support. Joe Theismann, whose NFL career was ended by a horrific broken leg in a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, has called Ware, Pitino said.

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