Louisville guard Kevin Ware was back on campus after he had been released from an Indianapolis hospital, two days after millions watched him suffer a broken right leg on a horrifying play in an NCAA tournament game.

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Louisville’s Kevin Ware has taken what he said would be the hardest step in his recovery — the first one.

The sophomore guard was back on campus Tuesday afternoon after he had been released from an Indianapolis hospital, two days after millions watched him suffer a broken right leg on a horrifying play trying to block a shot.

“I couldn’t be anymore happier to see my brothers man. Unexplainable!!” Ware tweeted after returning to the Cardinals’ practice facility, entering through a back door.

He had said on Facebook “the first step is always the hardest one to take.”

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Ware was injured Sunday during the first half of Louisville’s 85-63 victory over Duke in the Midwest Regional final. He underwent surgery to repair compound fractures of the tibia and is expected to be out for about a year.

The next step for Ware might be a trip to Atlanta for the Final Four.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has said he would like Ware to travel with the team to the national semifinals. Athletic-department spokesman Kenny Klein said doctors wouldn’t likely sign off on Ware traveling until Wednesday.

Ware’s injury devastated Pitino and teammates, many of whom were seen crying after seeing the severity of the break.

Social media have exploded with discussion of Ware’s injury, resulting in words of support from around the country. Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, who suffered a horrific leg injury on Monday Night Football in 1985 that ended his career, and Miami Heat superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were among those tweeting encouraging words.

On campus, a makeshift tribute was taped to a window in the Student Activities Center, and students filed by and lined up to sign the 3-by-5 foot poster.

Ware appreciated the support and said it boosted his mood. In an interview with The Courier-Journal of Louisville, he said, “It really brought my spirits up. … And it’s kind of hard to keep your spirits up in a situation like this.”

Lobos promote Neal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico didn’t have to look far to find its next coach.

Craig Neal, who spent the past six seasons as the team’s top assistant, was hired to replace Steve Alford.

Players and fans had voiced support for Neal, 49, as the top choice after Alford revealed last weekend he was leaving for UCLA.

Neal’s five-year contract will be worth $750,000 a year, plus incentives.

Meanwhile, at a news conference at UCLA, Alford called his new job that comes with an $18.2 million, seven-year contract “a great, humbling, honorable position I am in.”

Alford, 48, accepted the UCLA job 10 days after agreeing to a new 10-year contract with New Mexico.

“Please know I’m leaving somewhere I have an awful lot of love and admiration for in UNM,” he said.

NIT semifinals in New York

Iowa 71, Maryland 60

Devyn Marble contributed 21 points and nine rebounds to help the Hawkeyes (25-12) defeat the Terrapins (25-13) and advance to Thursday’s championship game at Madison Square Garden.

Alex Len had 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots for Maryland.

Baylor 76, Brigham Young 70

Pierre Jackson had 24 points and 10 assists to lead the Bears (22-14) past the Cougars (24-12). Baylor’s Cory Jefferson added 21 points.

Tyler Haws scored 25 points for BYU and Matt Carlino had 19.


Akeem Richmond made a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift East Carolina over host Weber State 77-74 in the CollegeInsider.com tournament final.

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