Mother of injured basketball player says son staying positive

Kevin Ware took his first steps on crutches Monday.

The mother of a Louisville basketball player who suffered a horrifying injury at Lucas Oil Stadium says her son is "positive" about his recovery.

Kevin Ware shattered his right leg during the first half of Sunday's regional championship game against Duke. Photos released today showed him walking on crutches in the hospital.

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino brought the Midwest Regional championship trophy to Ware's hospital room Monday.

"He's doing very well. He's very positive. He's not so much focused on what happened, he's focusing on the recovery," said Ware's mother, Lisa Junior.

Junior admits even she is surprised how well her son is doing. In photographs released Monday, Ware is upbeat, less than a full day after the 20-year-old guard suffered the compound fracture on national television.

His family was watching in helpless agony from their home in Atlanta.

"As a mom, we're used to fixing everything for a kid. The fact I couldn't fix it, let alone be there, I was just devastated," Junior said.

Lying courtside, Ware repeatedly told teammates to just win the game and not worry about him. Rushed to the emergency room, he called his mom, telling her he was okay, but she needed to get it together.

"I'm proud of his bravery. I'm proud of his character he has shown through it all," Junior said.

Hospital emergency rooms frequently see injuries like Ware's, usually the result of a car accident or someone taking a big fall.

"They certainly occur in athletes, but they are certainly less common," said IU Health Dr. Walter Virkus.

Virkus says the prognosis is typically good.

"I would say many people with this injury would be able to play basketball again without a problem," Virkus said.

But not without a lot of work.

Surgeons inserted a steel rod in Ware's leg bone, from his knee to his ankle. Doctors estimate the sophomore faces a year of physical and psychological rehabilitation.

"Him being an athlete is a good thing because he already has the endurance to go through such a tough and rigorous rehabilitation program," said Dr. Amruta Samarth, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana.

"I have no doubts he would be back stronger and better than he was. It seems as if every obstacle he has to go through, he becomes better because of it," Junior said.

Louisville beat Duke 85-63 and will play Wichita State Saturday at the Final Four in Atlanta. 

Ware is expected to leave Methodist hospital Tuesday, rejoin his team in Louisville then travel to Atlanta for the Final Four.

Quick response crucial in treating Ware