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Rockdale's Ware says he ‘went into shock’ after injury but is 'feeling fine' now

Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Florida International University coach Richard Pitino visit Kevin Ware in his hospital room at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Monday.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino and Florida International University coach Richard Pitino visit Kevin Ware in his hospital room at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Monday.

INDIANAPOLIS — Louisville’s Kevin Ware told ESPN.com that he hasn’t watched the replay of his horrific injury in Sunday’s Elite 8 game against Duke.

“I never want to,” the 2011 Rockdale graduate said in a phone interview with ESPN on Monday.

And who can blame him?

Ware had a steel rod surgically inserted in his leg late Sunday night hours after a gruesome injury in the first half of the regional final game in Indianapolis.

Ware was contesting a 3-point attempt by Duke’s Tyler Thornton with 6:33 to play in the first half and Louisville leading, 21-17, but then landed and snapped the lower part of his right leg.

The game was stopped for seven minutes as medical personnel immediately came out to attend to Ware, who was later taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

After the top-seed Cardinals won the game, 85-63, to advance to the final four this weekend at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Louisville coach Rick Pitino told CBS Sports the bone popped out of Ware’s skin and broke in two spots.

“We wanted to get back to Atlanta. We talked about every time out, ‘bring Kevin home,’ ” Pitino said. “All he kept saying, and remember, the bone’s six inches out of his leg, and all he’s yelling is ‘win the game, win the game.’ I’ve not seen that in my life, pretty special young man.”

Ware, a sophomore guard who was coming off a career-high 11 points in Louisville’s win over Oregon in the regional semi finals Friday, had three points on 1-of-3 shooting with a steal and a rebound at the time of the injury.

He spoke for the first time since the incident by telephone to ESPN.com.

“Hopefully I’ll be back in time to watch practice,” he said. “It hurts, but I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.”

He then went on to talk about the injury that was seen by millions on national television.

“I jumped and my leg felt kind of funny,” he said. “When Coach P tried to help me up, he gave me a funny kind of look. I’m looking at him and then I look down and I see my bone sticking out. It wasn’t a hurt feeling. I just went into shock. In the moment, you don’t know what’s wrong with you. You’re just looking, thinking, ‘How did this happen?’ I never watched the replay. I never want to.”

Pitino and several of Ware’s teammates became emotional after the injury — including Chane Behanan, who fell to the ground in tears seconds after Ware’s leg snapped.

“Seeing Chane cry as hard as he ever cried, and Russ (Smith), coach, all of them, I just looked at Coach P and said, ‘You gotta pull yourself together. Tell the guys to come over here,’” Ware said. “They came over and they were still emotional but I meant it. I told them, ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.’ I just had to block the pain out and put my situation on hold. I never back down for a challenge and to me, that’s what this is. Just another challenge. I’ll get through it. I wanted them to know that.’ ”

Pitino believes Ward will be back in a Louisville uniform next season.

“Well, we won this for him, we’re all choked up with emotion for him,” Pitino said.

“We’ll get him back to normal, we got great doctors, great trainers. It’ll take him a year to come back. He’ll come back better than ever.”