On Monday, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino addressed the status of guard Kevin Ware during a press conference focused on the coach’s upcoming induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In short, Pitino stated that the staff would take its time with Ware, who broke his leg during the Cardinals’ Elite 8 victory over Duke in March.
On Friday, Pitino told Andy Katz of ESPN.com that Ware may not return to game action until the spring semester.
“I don’t think Kevin will step on the court early in the season,” Pitino told ESPN.com. “He will just start playing basketball in October. He’ll start working out. He’s almost completely healed but he hasn’t stepped on the court since last March so it’s going to take some time. I’m looking more like it’s going to be second semester for him to be 100 percent or close to it.”
Ware finished the 2012-13 season with averages of 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, playing his best basketball of the season in the month leading up to the injury. Seeing that he’s yet to be cleared to resume full activities the obvious call is to make sure Ware doesn’t rush back. And a look at the Cardinals’ perimeter rotation reveals the fact that coach Pitino has more than enough options to turn to.
Senior Russ Smith (18.7 ppg) and junior Wayne Blackshear (7.6) were starters on last season’s national championship squad, and in junior college transfer Chris Jones the Cardinals add one of the nation’s best newcomers. Add in freshmen Anton Gill and Terry Rozier, and Louisville has a perimeter rotation that doesn’t lack for depth even with Ware sidelined. And senior Luke Hancock, who can handle the ball himself, is another option despite the fact that he’s listed as a small forward.
Kevin Ware will be on the court in a Louisville uniform at some point in 2013-14. The only question now is when he’ll be fully cleared to play.