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Ware's presence at Final Four gives Louisville lift, but absence leaves big hole on floor

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    Louisville head coach Rick Pitino speaks to the media during a news conference at the Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, April 4, 2013, in Atlanta. Louisville is scheduled to play Wichita State in a national semifinal on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (The Associated Press)

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    AP10ThingsToSee - Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware after he broke his leg during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in an NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File) (The Associated Press)

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    CORRECTS TO KEVIN, NOT KENNY - Louisville's Kevin Ware, center, uses crutches as he and members of the team arrive at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Atlanta, for their NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament game against Wichita State on Saturday. (AP Photo/David Tulis) (The Associated Press)

His full-leg cast and crutches aside, Kevin Ware is no different than the rest of his Louisville teammates this week. He's at team meetings. He's going to practice. He's riding the bus. He even put on his jersey to pose for the stock images that will be used during the Final Four telecast.

He is, Peyton Siva said, doing "everything he would normally do."

Except playing.

Ware's presence at the Final Four is an emotional boost for the Cardinals, coming just days after he broke his lower right leg in gruesome fashion. But his absence on the floor leaves the top-seeded Cardinals vulnerable for the first time in the NCAA tournament.