Kevin Ware has no doubt he’ll play next season

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The most iconic moment from this year’s NCAA tournament, and possibly this entire college basketball season, was the photo of Kevin Ware laying on his back, the training staff working on his broken leg as he held his teammate’s hands and told them to win the game and not worry about him.

At that point, Ware’s lower leg was, essentially, in two pieces, held together by nothing more than muscle and skin while part of his tibia was exposed, sticking through the skin.

The idea that he would play basketball again in 2013 seemed unlikely, and anyone that watched the injury happen at some point thought that might be the end of Ware’s basketball career.

Nope. Turns out that Ware could possibly end up being ready to play by next season.

“None, honestly,” Ware said when asked by WDRB whether there’s any doubt he’ll play in 2013-2014. “Just looking at the scar and how it’s healing, it’s really just going to be about me having the confidence to work hard.”

“I’ve been able to put pressure on it a lot more and in about three months I’ll be doing swimming exercises,” Ware added. “I’ll be good in six months. Doctors keep telling me that I’m young and that’s why it’s healing a lot faster. I’ve always tried to keep myself in good shape, and not put in a lot of outside things that hurt my body, like fast food. I really feel like I’m good.”

Ware may be able to get back on the floor next year, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be the same Kevin Ware that had played the first couple of rounds of the NCAA tournament. He’ll be coming off of a long stretch where he didn’t touch a basketball. He’s going to be out of shape and he’s not going to have the same kind of strength in his legs. He’s going to have to learn to have the confidence and comfort to do something like run full speed at a shooter on the wing.

That will take time.

But it will be an adjustment that happens while he’s playing.

That’s impressive enough in its own right.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.