LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kevin Ware strolled into the University of Louisville Cardinal Caravan stop at Captains Quarters Tuesday night to the surprise of a crowd of about 1,000, which gave him a standing ovation when he climbed up to the podium.
Ware says he's doing well. When asked about his hoped for return date, he said, "Start of practice. No reason not to."
I asked him if he was in any pain, and he said, "Yeah, I just had my wisdom teeth pulled and it hurts." To which I replied, "No, in your leg. Is there any pain there?" He said, "No. No pain there."
Ware got up and thanked fans and supporters for all of the well-wishes he's received. "I wouldn't have bounced back this fast if not for so many peoples' prayers and encouragement."
Ware has not watched video of the injury, and says he never will. But every day, he said, he's dismayed by people who post the picture of the injury to his Twitter or Instagram accounts or send him links to the YouTube video of the gruesome injury that occurred in the Midwest Regional Final against Duke. If it's not that, they're sending him jokes making light of the injury.
"Idiots," Ware said. "It's annoying. I say that so maybe people will stop sending it and making jokes and being negative about it."
Ware, as reported here a couple of days ago, is back in the gym shooting jump shots. Rick Pitino isn't allowed to watch the players play, but he saw a lone guy shooting jump shots in the gym on Monday and had to do a double take, then ask someone in the office, "Hey, is that Kevin shooting jumpers in the gym?"
"He was actually shocked," Ware said. "He called my name."
Ware said he's continually amazed by the outpouring, both national and local, on his behalf. When asked if he could remember the moment he went down, he said, "Yeah. I can remember everything." When asked what he thought of his teammates' emotional reactions, he said, "Yeah, I remember the crybabies."
In addition to his appearance on stage and his thank you to the fans, Ware had one more big applause line when asked about what the key will be for U of L in the coming season.
"Definitely ego," Ware said. "We're coming off two Final Fours the last two years. If we have ego, we'll be in the NIT like Kentucky. So we have to stay humble, and we have to stay together."
I had a chance recently to read through the bins and bins of mail that came to Kevin Ware after his injury, and will write more about it soon on WDRB.com.
U OF L NAMES NEW SENIOR WOMAN ADMINISTRATOR: Julie Hermann still finds herself amid a mess as the new athletic director at Rutgers, but U of L appears to have moved on. At an athletic board meeting Tuesday, it named Christine Krellwitz its new senior woman administrator and assistant athletic director. It's part of a sweeping reorganization of the department's top level directly under Tom Jurich. Official announcements are expected in the coming days.
ZACH PRICE TO TRANSFER: University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino says center Zach Price will leave the program after two seasons.
"There's no uncertainty to it, Zach is going to transfer," Pitino said. "We wish him well, Godspeed. We're a deep basketball team and we respect anybody's decision that wants to play a lot. Certainly he didn't play a whole lot for us and wasn't a major factor in what we do and felt that going elsewhere he could be a major factor. We wish him the best."
AN ANNIVERSARY: Yesterday was a big day for me. It marked one year since I quit the newspaper business (along with Rick Bozich) and today marks one year since I joined WDRB television. I'll have a column looking back at the year sometime this afternoon. It was also a big day for another reason -- we shipped the book manuscript for Rick Pitino's next book to the publisher. The book will be available Oct. 1. I'll have more on that project as the time for publication gets closer.