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Rick Pitino says Kevin Ware could return to Louisville

Jul 9, 2013, 10:15 PM EST

Colorado State v Louisville Getty Images

It’s been more than three months since Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg during the Cardinals’ Elite Eight victory over Duke.

And three more months from now, the rising junior guard could be back on the floor, according to his head coach. Rick Pitino told reporters on Tuesday that he is encouraged by the progress of Ware’s rehabilitation — which now includes riding a stationary bike — and that he could be back as early as October.

“He’s just riding the bike and you can almost see from the X-rays the bone healing,” Pitino said. “I’d say, in another month he’ll be healed and then he’ll start working out a little bit.”

The 6-foot-2 guard has had a well-documented rehab stint ever since he broke his leg back on Mar. 31. The injury, though difficult to watch and unfortunate for Ware and his playing career, served as an inspiration to the rest of his team from the time he laid on floor in Indianapolis until the time the basket was lowered so he could cut down the net.

In recent months, Ware has made appearances on the Today Show and was invited to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. As for basketball activity, Ware began to shot on the floor again several weeks ago.

Having Ware back for the start of the Cardinals’ title defense is big. Forwards Montrezl Harrell and Chane Behanan are projected to have big seasons and the addition of a veteran guard, along with Russ “Freaking” Smith in the backcourt will only make the Cards that much tougher. Remember, the game before Ware’s horrific injury, he dropped a season-high 11 points off 5-of-7 shooting against Oregon in the Sweet 16.

As a sophomore, Ware averaged 4.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne