During the Midwest Region's Elite Eight game between the Louisville Cardinals and Duke Blue Devils, Kevin Ware suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history. Although the injury was unknown at the time, the Cardinals' reaction said it all.
Louisville is a united team that wins and loses as one.
It has since been reported that Ware suffered a broken leg (via ESPN). Ware was taken to the hospital with towels covering his leg, most likely to prevent him or others from seeing it.
Kenny Klein of U of L has hospital update: Kevin Ware's pain is under control and he will likely have surgery tonight.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) March 31, 2013
Caution: For those who want to see the video of the injury, please know that the extent of the break was gruesome. This is not for those with weak stomachs.
For those who would still like to see what transpired, the video can be found here.
In response to Ware's injury, the Cardinals were found with tears in their eyes and pain on their faces. They dropped to the floor, needed to be held up by one another and even struggled to look at their fallen teammate.
It was one of the most heartbreaking moments you'll ever witness.
This was the sentiment that echoed throughout the arena, as Duke players and fans joined in the shock and terror over what transpired. When it comes to feeling the effects, however, there was one player who just couldn't keep it together—star guard Russ Smith.
Smith has been at the heart of Louisville's run to the Final Four, averaging 27.0 points entering this game. He has also been the emotional leader, carrying the burden of keeping Louisville's eyes on the prize.
In a time in which a role player suffered a season-ending injury, however, Smith was as crippled as everyone else—the sign of a team undivided.
Rick Pitino has long been known as one of the greatest coaches in the history of basketball. He's made six Final Four appearances, won an NCAA championship and led the NBA's New York Knicks to two playoff appearances.
One thing we'd never expected of Pitino is to display weakness—once again, we saw how close this team truly is.
This is what a team is all about.
At a time in which every fan and analyst is looking for the next great star, Louisville showed us that every individual is of equal importance. When one man fell, the entire team dropped to the floor with him.
Both literally and figuratively.
Great teams are often defined by the quality of their players or coaching staff. With Pitino in charge and Smith, Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng leading the players, Louisville is outstanding in that regard.
In terms of the power of their team, however, this was the defining moment of our overall No. 1 seed.
If that's not heartbreaking enough, try Ware's emotional will. Per Tracy Wolfson of CBS, Ware had just three sentences during his injured state.
Three powerful sentences.
.@tracywolfson reports Kevin Ware told his teammates: "Don't worry about me. I'll be OK. You guys go win this thing."— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 31, 2013
I said it before and I'll say it again—this was one of the most emotional moments in sports history, and it revealed just how united this basketball team truly is.