Ware said he has heard from several of his NBA idols, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Charles Barkley. The Louisville guard said he has even heard from first lady Michelle Obama and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
For the soft-spoken Ware, the support and media attention has meant more interviews than he ever imagined.
‘‘I had no idea I would get this kind of attention,’’ he said. ‘‘I'm one of those guys who just likes to play basketball. But the injury opened up a lot of peoples’ eyes and I really appreciate all the support. It really means a lot.’’
But as Ware cherishes the flood of warm wishes, he’s also dealing with the irony of the injury’s occurrence in a game against Duke.
He leaped high near the right sideline to defend a 3-point attempt, similar to a defensive play he made without incident in Louisville’s game in November against Duke in the Bahamas. This time he landed awkwardly, with the leg going in two different directions.
‘‘That was frustrating because it happened the same exact way, me making the play,’’ Ware said. ‘‘I was thinking then about just blocking the shot and that was what I was thinking this time. This was just different.’’
Ware also lamented the timing of his injury, a recollection that made him pause for a moment. A key part of Louisville’s guard rotation who often substituted for starters Siva and Russ Smith, Ware had overcome a one-game suspension in January and was coming off a career-best, 11-point effort in Friday’s tournament win over Oregon.
Ware is also finding out how difficult it is getting around with one healthy leg.
Fortunately for him, his girlfriend, Louisville sophomore Brittany Kelly, has been there to help since he was injured. Ware’s teammate and roommate, forward Chane Behanan, will lend a hand as well.
‘‘He’s handling it better than I would've expected,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘When they took the towel off his leg, he asked if he'd be able to play next week before they told him no.’’
Ware’s mother, Lisa Junior, also plans to move from Georgia to aid her son’s healing process. Ware said his leg will need eight to 12 weeks to heal before he begins rehabilitation in hopes of returning by the start of practice in October.
How he'll celebrate if the Cardinals fulfill their mission is unclear. Ware joked at climbing the ladder to cut down the nets but will likely settle for just being part of the action.
‘‘Whatever I see on the court,’’ he said, ‘‘I will tell them about it.’’