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November 6, 2013

Ware returns to the court for Louisville




The biggest cheer of the game during Louisville's exhibition win over NAIA Pikeville wasn't for a dunk or a three-pointer.

Injured guard Kevin Ware returned to the court for the first time since a horrific compound fracture during Louisville's Elite Eight game vs. Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

Ware received a standing ovation as he waited at the scorer's table, checking in at the 13:49 mark of the second half.

"It is great. I've been waiting to this day for 200 something days," Ware said. "I was just excited to get back out there with my brothers."

Possibly the biggest story of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Ware had surgery on his leg immediately following the game in Indianapolis and began rehabbing within days.

He was the subject of national attention after his injury, appearing on The Tonight Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and speaking with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and First Lady Michelle Obama.

T-shirts and signs that read "Win for Ware" were common in Louisville and in Atlanta at the Final Four as Louisville brought home its third NCAA Championship.

Ware's leg break, while gruesome, didn't require as much rehabilitation as more-common knee injuries like an ACL or MCL tear, and he began walking just weeks after surgery.

Ware returned to the court for individual workouts last week, and saw action on the court in front of fans for the first time Wednesday night.

Ware primarily played the shooting guard spot, reaching the scorer's book for the first time at the 9:24 mark by grabbing a rebound with the Cardinals up 66-44.

He hit a three with 8:28 left that brought the entire arena to its feet. He grabbed another rebound on the next defensive possession and brought the ball up the court.

Ware checked out of the game at the 3:23 mark with six points and four rebounds. He is expected to play his first actual game in Louisville's season-opener Saturday against College of Charleston.


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