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(NECN: Jennifer Eagan) - Kevin Ware made an unbelievable turnaround Monday.
Less than 24 hours after a brutal leg injury, the Louisville sophomore guard was back on his feet and walking with the help of crutches. Ware landed awkwardly on his right leg Sunday night during the first half of the Louisville game against Duke. He broke the bone so badly it protruded from his leg.
Dr. Brian McKeon of New England Baptist Hospital sees all kinds of sports injuries as the chief medical officer for the Boston Celtics. He says such a severe break is rare. While Dr. McKeon didn’t treat Ware, he believes the fact that it happened without any contact from another player indicates a previous injury.
"One theory I have and I’m sure everyone does is that the bone must have been weakened. He must have had some type of injury, stress injury, that was cumulative. Here we are at the end of the season a lot of play for these guys," Dr. McKeon said.
The first priority was taking care of the exposed bone of Ware’s leg, which was very vulnerable to infection.
"Within four to six hours, you have to get that kid to the hospital, clean it out and stabilize it," Dr. McKeon said.
A staff member for the basketball team snapped a photo of Ware Monday holding the Midwest Regional trophy in his hospital bed, a scene Ware likely never hoped for. Despite his gruesome injury, Dr. McKeon believes the sophomore has a good chance of playing basketball again.
"It’s just a matter of getting it to heal. And this is a little bit slower because of the blood supply, but I would anticipate him back anywhere from three to six months. But, ultimately, any surgery like this before he can really get his vertical and really jumps, it could be a year," Dr. McKeon says.
Dr. McKeon says for athletes reporting an injury when you first feel pain is paramount to preventing a serious break like Ware’s. He says it is not uncommon for players with so much at stake to play through pain, which does not pay off in the end.