Kevin Ware returns in exhibition

Kevin Ware made an unexpected return to game action Wednesday in an exhibition win over Pikeville. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Louisville's Kevin Ware played Wednesday in his first game since suffering a gruesome broken leg 220 days ago against Duke.

Ware entered the exhibition contest against Pikeville at the Yum! Center to a standing ovation. He made his first shot, a 3-pointer, and finished with six points and four rebounds in 10 minutes.

Ware was cleared Sunday to practice with full contact for the first time since the injury, but he wasn't expecting to play Wednesday.

"It was great. I've never felt like that before," he told ESPN.com after Louisville's 90-61 exhibition victory. "I've been waiting for that moment."

"Once I hit the first shot, it took away all of the jitters."

Rick Pitino told ESPN.com last week that Ware will be in uniform against College of Charleston for the season opener Saturday, but the Cardinals' coach was uncertain whether Ware will get into that game.

"I wanted to get him some minutes just to get him over the jitters in case I need to use him against Charleston," Pitino told reporters after Wednesday's contest.

Ware entered the game midway through the second half with Louisville up 30 points. He said that while he wasn't in game shape, he felt no ill effects of the leg injury mentally.

"Not seeing the injury took all the doubt away," said Ware, who previously told ESPN.com that he never watched the video of the play on which he broke his right leg. "Now I just need to get in shape."

Ware said he expects his entire family to be in attendance in Louisville on Saturday for the season opener.

"I can build on this," he said. "I'm just hoping to get out there and show people that I can be the same player I was before the injury."