How do you know when an injury is bad? Not just above-average, please-don't-roll-that-replay-back bad, but so horrifying you can hardly bear to think about it, even though it's so thoroughly branded into your memory you can't help it?
Your own physical reaction is probably enough, I guess. But if you had never seen Kevin Ware's injury in Louisville's Elite Eight win over Duke in March -- or if you're lucky enough to have still never seen it, which, just ... don't -- you could probably piece together just how bad Ware's leg injury looked just from the reaction itself. The high-profile setting had something to do with that, sure, and the Cardinals' ultimate triumph kept the whole thing front and center for much longer than normal. But that's not really the point. The point is, you don't have to have seen Ware's injury to figure out that it was horrifying. You can judge the size of this rock by its ripples.
I don't know if there's a larger lesson in that. Maybe there's something about information age postmodernism nestled in there somewhere. I don't know. It's Tuesday morning after Labor Day, so let's save that dive for another time. But I do know this: That's a bad injury. That's how you know.
In the end, the way the injury looked career-ending, drastic, like Ware would never walk quite the same again was separate from the actual injury itself, which was eventually deemed less serious than even a routine (if that's not oxymoronic) ACL tear. In a few months' time, Ware was posting photos of himself on the court shooting around, looking like he could be ready to play in the Cardinals' opener in early November.
That might not be quite the timeline, according to Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who answered questions about Ware's status this week:
"We're going to take our time," Pitino told reporters Monday during a news conference to discuss his Hall of Fame induction, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. "I'm not saying we're going to redshirt him, but we'll take our time because it's a very serious injury."
Pitino said he expected Ware will begin his on-court rehabilitation by mid-October. The defending national champion Cardinals play their regular-season opener on Nov. 9 against Charleston.
"He's going to have to get his confidence back," Pitino said. "He asked me the other day if he should look at it on tape for the first time. I said there's no reason to; I never did."
Yeah, Kevin, listen to Coach P on this one. Don't watch the tape. No good can come of it. Trust me.
Pitino also clarified the other side of Ware's status whether he had been suspended or not this offseason, or would be suspended this season, or insert your own suspension-related rumor here. None of them were true, according to Pitino. From the Courier-Journal:
“Kevin Ware was never suspended from our basketball team — he was last year for the first few games and so was Chane Behanan,” Pitino said. “… I haven’t suspended anybody. I’ve been having too much fun this summer to suspend anybody.”
While I suspect Pitino is never having so much fun he loses his zest for team discipline, the national title, plus the induction into the basketball Hall of Fame, plus his son's arrival at a Big Ten program (Minnesota) ... well, you can see what he means, at least.
But anyway, Kevin, if you're out there, seriously: Do not watch that tape.