Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffers gruesome compound fracture during regional final game

INDIANAPOLIS -- Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture in the first half of the Cardinals' Midwest regional final against Duke on Sunday.

Ware rushed out to challenge a 3-point shot by Duke's Tyler Thornton and appeared to land awkwardly. When laying on the court, the tibia bone in his right leg appeared to be protruding from the skin. The game was stopped for a prolonged period of time and a pall fell over Lucas Oil Stadium.

Louisville's players reacted with anguish. Chane Behanan fell to the floor sobbing. Russ Smith was crying heavily. Coach Rick Pitino was wiping tears from his face.

[Also: Sports world reacts to Ware's injury]

Ware asked to speak to his teammates and Pitino called them over. The guard reportedly offered words of encouragement, telling the team to press on and beat Duke.

Then he was taken off the court on a stretcher and sent by ambulance to Methodist Hospital, which is two miles from the stadium.

Louisville associate athletic director Kenny Klein said Ware's pain is under control and he will likely have surgery tonight.

Pitino will visit Ware in Methodist Hospital after he comes out of surgery and plans to take the Midwest Regional championship trophy with him to show to Ware. The coach plans to spend the night in Indianapolis and will visit Ware again Monday morning before returning to Louisville, which is 120 miles south of Indianapolis.

[Slideshow: Players, coaches react to Kevin Ware's gruesome injury]

Ware has seen his role increase in the NCAA tournament. He scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 25 minutes during Louisville's win over Oregon on Friday.

Ware had three points on 1-of-2 shooting before the injury.

Behanan paid tribute to Ware in the closing minute of the game, wearing his No. 5 jersey and pointing to the number.

(WARNING: The video below includes graphic footage. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Michigan routs Florida as Big Ten team reaches Final Four
Kevin Kolb signs deal with Buffalo Bills
Carlos Boozer hits ref in the groin (video)
Another Rios-Alvarado classic points to rubber match