Kevin Ware’s sickening leg snap during Sunday’s Louisville-Duke Elite Eight matchup has been dubbed the worst basketball injury ever. When teammates say they saw a bone sticking out of the sophomore guard’s leg and doctors project a yearlong recovery, it’s hard to argue with that label. But for a sport without tackles or flying punches, basketball has seen its share of intense accidents. We took a look back at the rest of the past decade’s NCAA and NBA basketball injuries and noticed a trend: Hitting the hardwood hurts, but ball players can bounce back from just about anything. We hope Ware is no exception.
Allan Ray’s Eye Injury (2006)
Villanova’s Allan Ray had it rough heading into March Madness–he got poked in the eye by Pittsburgh’s Carl Krauser during a Big East Tournament semifinal game. Although it appeared that Ray’s eye had popped out of its socket, what actually happened was a little less grotesque: His eyelid was forced behind his eye, resulting in some soft tissue damage. Ray returned to the court in less than a week to play in the NCAA tournament.
Shaun Livingston’s Knee Injury (2007)
During a game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Los Angeles Clippers guard Shaun Livingston suffered a dislocated left kneecap and tore three ligaments when he missed a shot, landed awkwardly, and literally snapped his leg. The injury was so bad that doctors warned the leg might need to be amputated. But after over a year of rehab, Livingston returned to the NBA with his own two legs.
Derrick Roland’s Leg Injury (2009)
During a game against the Washington Huskies, Texas A&M guard Derrick Roland broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg, ending his season on the spot. Teammate Donald Sloan, who had played basketball with Roland since middle school, showed some serious sympathy on the court.
Steve Nash’s Nose Injury (2010)
Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash showed up to Game 3 of the Conference Finals with a black eye—courtesy of Tim Duncan’s elbow during the Western Conference semifinals—and left with a dislocated nose to go with it. Nash collided with Lakers point guard Derrick Fisher, but a potentially-broken schnoz didn’t stop him from finishing out the game. Nash pinched his nose back into place, sunk two final free throws, and helped the Suns secure a 118-109 win over the Lakers. (Skip to 3:30 to check it out). Nash underwent surgery to fix a nasal fracture and displaced cartilage, but bounced back with no time off.
Andrew Bogut’s Elbow Injury (2010)
Bogut’s a big guy—he’s 7′ and weighs 260 pounds. So imagine the force that was behind his fall to the hardwood. The Milwaukee Bucks center dislocated his right elbow, broke his hand, and sprained his wrist when he crashed to the ground following a slam-dunk during a game against the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, Bogut continues to confront freak accidents, including a sprained foot, fractured ankle, and high-impact collisions. The good news: he always heals, and accredits his injuries to a hearty dose of bad luck.