University of Louisville

Louisville freshman Kevin Ware eligible to play in December

A day after Louisville lost junior guard Mike Marra for the season, the school announced Monday that freshman Kevin Ware has met NCAA initial eligibility requirements and will join the men's basketball team in mid-December.

Marra tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Cardinals' victory over Lamar on Sunday night, according to a statement from the school. He started 11 games last season and averaged 6.2 points for U of L.

Ware, a 6-foot-4 guard from Conyers, Ga., who was a four-star recruit in high school, signed a financial-aid agreement in June but was denied a waiver and subsequent appeal for admittance in early September.

"He continued to work on improving his standing and will enroll for the 2012 spring semester," U of L said in a statement Monday. He's set to join the Cardinals on Dec. 14, the day after U of L's fall-semester finals, meaning he'll be available to play against Kentucky on New Year's Eve.

A first-team All-State selection as a senior last season, Ware averaged 13.2 points, 4.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 steals for Rockdale County High School, which went 26-6 and finished as the Georgia 4A state runner-up.

The Cardinals returned 11 lettermen this season, but they have not practiced at full strength yet. They are missing talented freshman Wayne Blackshear (right shoulder), forward Rakeem Buckles (right knee) and Stephan Van Treese (left knee). Marra had dealt with a bad back all preseason and was using crutches after Sunday's game.

U of L said surgery will be scheduled for the junior out of Smithfield, R.I., and the normal recovery time for an ACL tear is nine to 12 months.