TODAY   |  April 02, 2013

Joe Theismann ‘sickened’ by Kevin Ware injury

Just two days after Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome injury during a game, he is tweeting, “I’ll be back by next season.” Kevin Tibbles reports and Joe Theismann, an NFL hall of fame quarterback who suffered a similar injury talks about the recovery Ware faces.

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>>> we've got good news to report, louisville basketball player kevin ware is expected to be released from an indianapolis hospital today as he recovers from that awful leg break he suffered less than 48 hours ago. nbc's kevin tibbles is in indianapolis with more on that. good morning to you.

>> reporter: yes, matt, after such a horrific looking injury, kevin ware is expected to be released from the hospital here in indianapolis later today just in time to make the bench for this weekend's final four with his team. new pictures show kevin ware up and walking on crutches and visiting with his coach, rick pitino .

>> he's done very well. he's very positive. he's not so much focusing on what happened but he's focusing on the recovery.

>> reporter: ware's mother lisa was watching the game on tv when her son suffered the devastating injury.

>> that is a gruesome looking injury to kevin ware .

>> reporter: while ware's teammates were visibly shaken it was ware who inspired telling them, "win the game, win the game." monday ware tweeted a picture of his leg selling a fan "i'm good, bro, i'll be back by next season" following a two-hour surgery where doctors reset the bone and inserted a metal rod in his right leg.

>> i would say many people with this injury would be able to play basketball again without a problem.

>> reporter: athletes have taken to twitter to send their wishes, lebron james , "prayers go out to kevin ware and his family. may you have a speedy recovery kid and come back even stronger."

>> i have no doubt he'll be back bigger and stronger.

>> reporter: doctors say ware may have had an existing stress fracture prior to the big break , but he's expected to make a full recovery. matt?

>> remarkable. kevin tibbles in indianapolis this morning.

>>> former nfl great joe theismann knows what kevin ware is going through. he broke his leg in a monday night game in 1985 when he was sacked by linebacker lawrence taylor . the injury so severe it ended his career. joe always good to see you, good morning.

>> good morning, matt, good to be with you.

>> it was so hard for all of us to watch this and i'm thinking of you in 1985 and as you watched it, it had to be even tougher. what was your first reaction?

>> i was sickened to my stomach. it just conjured up all the memories instantly of what i went through that evening, the excruciating pain and all of the people around me and all the activity and i saw everybody start to get around kevin . it just kept playing over and over in my mind. those things just don't ever leave you.

>> cbs was very careful only to shoot kevin from the waist up during those couple of minutes after he was down, but i was looking at the reactions of the fans and the coaches, and the other players and boy the looks on their faces and the tears in their eyes told you everything they needed to know, didn't they?

>> it really did. they tell the full story. when my leg was broken everybody talked about lawrence grabbing his head. you don't need to see much more. i agree i thought they did a terrific job of not going deep into the injury but showing the reaction of everyone. i can imagine coach pitino having it happen right at his feet, literally right at his feet. i know i heard mine break when it happened. sounded like two muzzled gunshots, and it's a sound you never forget.

>> let me get your perspective, physically he's younger than you were at the time, therapy has come a long way, surgery has come a long way but what do you think he faces physically?

>> i think physically the rehabilitation process is not going to be that difficult for him. the rod is going to give him stability and it's a question of the bone healing as long as there isn't any ankle or knee damage to any extent i think he'll be fine.

>> emotionally?

>> emotionally is not a problem. i had a chance to talk to him yesterday and he's in a great place. he knows the road will not be easy but he's a young man bound and determined to come back.

>> do you think he had go out on a court and play all out without being haunted by the fear that would come from an accident like that?

>> you will, after you get out and start to practice and play and he may turn an ankle or something but with that rod in there i doubt if he's ever going to break that leg again.

>> joe theismann , interesting perspective. nice to see you, thanks very much.

>> thank you.

>> he's a great guy and one of the first to tweet "best wishes to kevin ware " on sunday night.