Rick Pitino: Kevin Ware will be in uniform for Louisville’s season opener

By late June, he was taking jump shots. By September, he was throwing down two-handed dunks. By last week, he had been cleared to practice.

And now, seven months after his gruesome broken leg in the Elite Eight last March, comes news that Kevin Ware will be in uniform when defending national champion Louisville opens the season against College of Charleston next month.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino revealed that to ESPN.com on Thursday afternoon, though he stopped short of promising that Ware would play Nov. 9 against the Cougars. Ware has also been slowed by a case of pinkeye that has prevented him from practicing this week.

"He's taking it slow," Pitino told ESPN.com. "People want to see him on the court healthy. We want to see him flourishing."

Whenever Ware returns to the floor, he will surely receive an ovation as enthusiastic and deafening as the Louisville crowd can muster. Ware is revered among Cardinals fans for the positive attitude he displayed after suffering an open fracture so grotesque that many of his teammates recoiled in horror at the sight of his bone protruding out of his skin.

It's important for Louisville that Ware does return to full strength because he can provide more than just an emotional lift for the Cardinals. The 6-foot-2 guard ability to shoot from the perimeter, get to the rim and defend opposing guards make him a potential asset for Louisville off the bench behind likely starters Chris Jones and Russ Smith.

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