It’s been more than three months since Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg during the Cardinals’ Elite Eight victory over Duke.
And three more months from now, the rising junior guard could be back on the floor, according to his head coach. Rick Pitino told reporters on Tuesday that he is encouraged by the progress of Ware’s rehabilitation — which now includes riding a stationary bike — and that he could be back as early as October.
“He’s just riding the bike and you can almost see from the X-rays the bone healing,” Pitino said. “I’d say, in another month he’ll be healed and then he’ll start working out a little bit.”
The 6-foot-2 guard has had a well-documented rehab stint ever since he broke his leg back on Mar. 31. The injury, though difficult to watch and unfortunate for Ware and his playing career, served as an inspiration to the rest of his team from the time he laid on floor in Indianapolis until the time the basket was lowered so he could cut down the net.
In recent months, Ware has made appearances on the Today Show and was invited to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. As for basketball activity, Ware began to shot on the floor again several weeks ago.
Having Ware back for the start of the Cardinals’ title defense is big. Forwards Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan are projected to have big seasons and the addition of a veteran guard, along with Russ “Freaking” Smith in the backcourt will only make the Cards that much tougher. Remember, the game before Ware’s horrific injury, he dropped a season-high 11 points off 5-of-7 shooting against Oregon in the Sweet 16.
As a sophomore, Ware averaged 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.