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Rick Pitino says Kevin Ware has been cleared to practice

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

The timeline of recovery on Kevin Ware's broken leg has been pretty astounding. Ware broke his leg during Louisville's Elite Eight game against Duke on March 31. It was gruesome, made national news and turned Ware into a sympathetic sports hero in the process. He wasted no time getting back to rehab and using his story to visit and inspire others who faced physical setbacks from injuries of their own. He also attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

But amid his rise to fame, Ware appeared to be grinding in rehab in an effort to not miss any time. By early June he was back in the gym; at the end of that month, he was able to take jump shots and get lift off his recovering right leg. By September, he was dunking, even amid rumors he was privately suspended from the team over the summer (rumors Louisville coach Rick Pitino denied).

Ware's impact on the upcoming season is still to be seen -- Louisville's a consensus top-three team heading into November -- but he will be playing, and it's likely he'll be playing before 2013 is out. On Friday Rick Pitino told the media that his junior guard has been cleared by doctors to return to practice. Pitino himself foretold this scenario three months ago.

It's remarkable, and while it's making headlines here on an early October Friday, you're likely to hear/read/see more about Ware's road back once he's fully integrated into the team and getting minutes again. Will Ware be ready for the start of the season? That might be a bit too aggressive, and we won't know that until he's got plenty of practice under him and Pitino can decide if he's in game shape.

Louisville opens its season Nov. 9 at home against College of Charleston.

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