NCAA Basketball

10 Worst Injuries in NCAA Tournament History

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Kevin Ware’s fall on the 31st of March for Louisville was no ordinary fall, with no ordinary landing. Terribly, Ware landed with such an impact and with his right leg in such an awkward position that he suffered compound fracture. For those who are unaware of what exactly that means, it’s when a bone protrudes the skin in an injury. Rather grim; this is exactly how anyone who has seen the footage of Ware’s injury is likely to have felt, with the feeling ceasing to fade with every recollection.

It was even unsettling to view the players from both Louisville and Duke Blue Devils coming to terms with what they had just witnessed. There have been more damaging injuries in sport as even recently jockey JT McNamara was left paralyzed following a fall from his horse. But there are few as gruesome and shocking as Kevin Ware’s that come to mind.

However, here are ten other injuries from the NCAA Basketball Tournament that are notably the worst in history. From the ever present nightmare injury that comes from a damaged anterior cruciate ligament to some dark days not only in basketball and sport, but the lives of many people themselves.

Basketball is not a contact sport, so it can be tough to pick out enough incidents worthy of this list. That is a good thing as it of course means nobody is getting hurt and we’re hopefully watching some great games, but there are still a few injuries that players have suffered from that manage to help create a list of the ten worst injuries in NCAA tournament history.

If we've missed any off the list, then let us know in the comment section down below! Any others that spring to mind?

By Stowe Gregory, @stowegregory

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10. Kenny Smith

NCAA Injuries
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Whilst playing for North Carolina in 1984, Kenny Smith hit his wrist against the board and then landed on it whilst scoring a dunk - breaking his wrist. Painful.

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9. Kendall Marshall

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During the 2012 Tournament, Kendall Marshall of North Carolina suffered a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. He actually tried to carry on playing by dribbling with only his left hand, but understandably the pain was too much.

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8. Baron Davis

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In 1997 whilst coming down from a dunk when playing for UCLA, Baron Davis tore his dreaded anterior cruciate ligament. However, he managed to be back in time for the start of the next season. Never the less, those injuries are not fun.

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7. Kalin Lucas

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In 2010, Kalin Lucas tore his Achilles tendon, which apparently is like being shot in the ankle. It was a big blow to Michigan State's NCAA hopes that year.

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6. Loren Woods

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In the 2000 NCAA Tournament, Loren Woods suffered a compressed disc in his back which would lead to two major operations. Arizona struggled without his defensive abilities later in the tournament. Anything involving backs tends to be slightly cringe worthy.

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5. Idong Ibok

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Nigerian Idong Ibok amazingly only missed a few games after dislocating his elbow for Michigan State. If you've ever seen the video, then you'll feel sympathy for him!

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4. Marvin Barnes

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Marvin Barnes, whilst playing for Providence against Memphis, dislocated his knee cap. Nasty.

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3. Da'Sean Butler

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Whilst playing for West Virginia in the second half of their Final Four loss to Duke Blue Devils, Butler injured his knee. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament, sprained his Medial collateral ligament and suffered two bone bruises. Ouch.

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2. Kevin Ware

NCAA Worst injuries
Jamie Rhodes - USA TODAY Sports

"Oh God" was my reaction when I saw the injury. Vile, is probably a better way of describing it. There are some horrific images that I have avoided selecting for Kevin Ware's nightmare compound fracture. His broken tibia came through his skin, giving all around quite a fright. Nasty. All the best Kevin!

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1. Hank Gathers

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Ok, it's not an injury as perhaps most will consider it. But Hank Gathers collapsed during a game vs Portland for Loyola Marymount University. He tragically passed away from the incident, as an existing heart-muscle disorder took his life just after scoring on his trademark tomahawk dunk. Even today, 23 years since 1990, thoughts go out to Hank and those close to him. RIP.