When Kevin Ware stopped attending Louisville practices or games soon after lingering discomfort from his grisly broken leg forced him to redshirt this season, it sparked questions about whether he would ever wear a Cardinals jersey again.
Sure enough, the answer came a little over 12 hours after Louisville's season ended at the hands of rival Kentucky in the Sweet 16. Ware told ESPN.com on Saturday that he intends to transfer.
The departure of Ware is more an emotional loss for Louisville than one that will be felt on the court next season.
On one hand, the Cardinals remain well-stocked on the perimeter with point guard Chris Jones returming, breakout candidate Terry Rozier likely to step into a starting role and four-star point guard Quentin Snider and talented wing Shaqquan Aaron set to arrive. On the other hand, it will surely be tough for Louisville players and fans to see Ware finish his career at a different school considering he became the symbol of the Cardinals' national title run last spring.
As he lay in front of the Louisville bench last March with his right leg gruesomely broken, Ware called his teammates over and told them not to worry about him and to go win the game. Ware later became a rallying cry for his team and an instant celebrity nationally as the Cardinals went on to rout Duke in the Elite Eight and defeat Wichita State and Michigan in Atlanta to capture the national championship.
Ware returned to a standing ovation during an exhibition victory over Pikeville on Nov. 7, but he lacked his former explosiveness and played just 53 minutes in parts of nine games this season. The junior guard was kicked in the right leg against Missouri State on Dec. 17 and subsequently opted to redshirt.
At about this time last season, it would have been difficult to imagine Kevin Ware in any color besides Louisville red given the support he received after his injury. Now, if Ware's comeback turns out to be a success story, it appears it will be with a different school.
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