“Right before the surgery, when he was able to watch the players at the press conference, the nurses and doctors told me that was the first time he broke down and cried, when the players were talking about him,” Pitino said.
Ware’s injury dominated social media Sunday night, and Pitino said the sophomore guard has been moved by all the messages of support. Joe Theismann, whose NFL career was ended by a horrific broken leg in a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants, has called Ware, Pitino said. On Sunday, Theismann tweeted, “Watching Duke/ Louisville my heart goes out to Kevin Ware.”
Television analyst Greg Anthony also called, and Pitino said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called him Monday to see how Ware was doing.
“A lot of really positive calls that are making him feel good,” Pitino said.
Pitino and his son, Richard, who recruited Ware while he was on his father’s staff, were at the hospital when the sophomore guard got out of surgery and went back Monday morning. Ware’s girlfriend stayed with him overnight, and his mother and her husband arrived Monday.
“She just needed to see him this morning,” Pitino said. “She was crying all night. Once she gave him a hug this morning, she was fine. Everything is good right now.”
Kenny Klein, Louisville’s sports information director, tweeted a picture of Ware on crutches Monday. Richard Pitino, now the coach at Florida International, posted photos of Ware with his family and with the championship trophy.
While some have speculated that Ware could have had a previous stress fracture that left him predisposed to such an injury, Pitino discounted that, saying there was “nothing prior.”
“Basically his leg went one way and his shoe went another and the bone split,” Pitino said. “There’s no preexisting thing that makes it do that.”
Ware’s injury is similar to the one suffered by running back Michael Bush, who also played at Louisville. Bush recovered from the injury and has had a productive NFL career with Oakland and Chicago.
“It will be a long recovery,” Pitino said. “But we expect him to make a full recovery.”
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.