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Ware watches Cardinals' Final Four victory from the bench

Updated: 2013-04-08 08:00
By Associated Press in Atlanta ( China Daily)

 Ware watches Cardinals' Final Four victory from the bench

Injured Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware comes to the court on crutches ahead of his team's NCAA men's Final Four basketball game against the Wichita State Shockers in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday. No 1 seed and tournament favorite Louisville won, 72-68, and advanced to the national college championship game, where it will face Michigan. Chris Keane / Reuters

Kevin Ware couldn't stay seated for this one.

Ware, who only six days ago had surgery to repair a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg, was on crutches and cheered as he followed his Louisville teammates onto the court for Saturday's Final Four semifinal against Wichita State.

Ware remained seated for most of the game as Louisville trailed the Shockers.

Louisville was behind 47-35 midway through the second half. Ware clapped and cheered as the Cardinals rallied, finally taking the lead with 6:30 remaining on a 3-pointer by Luke Hancock.

Then, with the game tied at 58 with about 5 minutes to go, Ware stood and clapped and remained on his feet until the Cardinals took a 60-58 lead. Putting his weight on his good left leg, the sophomore guard stood again, using the elevated court for support, in the closing minutes of Louisville's 72-68 win.

He stood again and smiled as Russ Smith sank two free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining.

Ware was missed by his Louisville teammates, who without him lacked the depth at guard to effectively press Wichita State for the whole game. The Cardinals had just enough to win without him.

There was support for Ware from fans and his teammates at the Georgia Dome.

Fans loudly cheered for Ware before the game as the guard, on crutches and surrounded by a crowd of photographers, followed his teammates onto the floor. He was positioned in a chair at the end of the bench, with his injured leg resting on a stack of towels atop another chair.

He was wearing his No 5 jersey, red sneakers and red and black camouflage shorts.

Ware said he feels "great".

"Obviously, it's great to be home," he said in a brief, pregame interview on CBS. "I've had a lot of support, and I really appreciate it."

(China Daily 04/08/2013 page24)

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