Kevin Ware injury: Louisville guard on crutches for 'lengthy' recovery, joins team in Atlanta

Via Kenny Klein (KKCards) on Twitter

Kevin Ware's road to playing basketball again has begun, as the Louisville guard is on crutches after undergoing surgery on a compound leg fracture Sunday night. He might not play for a year or more, but he'll join his team for the Final Four.

After surgery on a compound fracture to his right tibia, Kevin Ware is up and walking on crutches, and the Louisville guard expects to be with the team for the Final Four in Atlanta, with a recovery process still expected to last a year if not more.

Some rather inspiring pictures of Ware -- along with some nice memorabilia -- surfaced since successfully undergoing surgery. First, he might not have been on the court when Louisville pulled away to win the Midwest Regional after his first-half injury, but his teammates made sure he got the trophy:

And the hat:

If you're curious about the actual injury, Steven Jones, Matthew Frassica, and Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal tag-teamed a thorough story on what happened and how Ware can recover:

Ware had the bone reset, and a rod was inserted into his leg during the operation that lasted about two hours. The wound caused by the bone puncturing through his skin in his lower leg was closed.

Louisville's late-night release said no timetable for recovery has been set, but the early prognosis from sports medicine director Fred Hina — given right after the game while Ware was in surgery — was that Ware is bound for a lengthy recovery, but the injury is not likely a career-ending one.

The consensus is that although he'll be out quite a long time due to the severe nature of an injury to a weight-bearing bone, he will play again, as former Louisville running back Michael Bush did. The best-case scenario is 6-8 months per a Steelers doctor, with signs of recovery coming in the next 2-3 months.

The actual descriptions of the injury were brutal:

"It looks like what we call a bending fracture — like snapping a pencil with your finger," he said. "There was a significant amount of force, and the angle looked about right."

It's apparently a type of injury most likely to be suffered in a car accident.

All this underlines Ware's strength. Luke Winn profiled how the Louisville sophomore -- and his teammates and family -- reacted to his injury for Sports Illustrated.

Then Ware called from the hospital, while his teammates were celebrating on the court at Lucas Oil Stadium. He was about to go into a two-hour surgery to have a rod inserted into his leg, and then close up the wound.

And what was the first thing Ware said?

"Calm down, mom. I'm OK."

Amazing. As you've probably heard, Ware somehow gathered his thoughts to tell his teammates to win the game, and it worked, as the Cardinals trounced Duke in the second half and will play in Atlanta, where Ware went to high school.

Yes, he'll be there:

More in College Basketball:

Louisville's Kevin Ware suffers gruesome injury

NCAA printable bracket: Final Four is set

Chasing Cinderella: Dunk City, USA

Steve Alford leaves New Mexico for UCLA

Wichita State just latest mid-major to crash Final Four

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