by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33

Today in “why we love basketball”: Louisville guard Kevin Ware made his return to the hardwood last night for the first time since his gruesome leg injury in the Cardinals’ Elite Eight matchup against Duke.

The junior guard from the Bronx didn’t waste any time getting back into the swing of things, as he drilled the first shot that he attempted and earned a standing ovation from the crowd in the KFC Yum! Center.

Ware didn’t enter the game until the 13:49 mark of the second half, but he played 10 minutes in the team’s 90-61 beatdown of NAIA University of Pikeville, scoring 6 points and grabbing 4 rebounds.

From ESPN:

Ware was cleared Sunday to practice with full contact for the first time since the injury, but he wasn’t expecting to play Wednesday.

“It was great. I’ve never felt like that before,” he told ESPN.com after Louisville’s 90-61 exhibition victory. “I’ve been waiting for that moment.”

“Once I hit the first shot, it took away all of the jitters.”

It’s unknown whether or not Ware will play in Louisville’s season opener on Saturday against College of Charleston, but coach Rick Pitino has said that Ware will be on the bench and in uniform for the game.