Paige Bueckers Tears A.C.L. in Pickup Basketball Game, Will Miss Season

UConn’s star point guard Paige Bueckers tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Monday and will miss the 2022-23 women’s basketball season, the university announced Wednesday.

Bueckers, a 20-year-old guard from Minnesota, was injured during a pickup basketball game, UConn officials said in a statement. The 5-foot-11 junior will have surgery on Friday at UConn Health.

“It’s so crazy because you work so hard to get back healthy, you feel stronger than ever, and you are playing your best basketball and with one sudden movement it all shifts,” Bueckers wrote on Instagram. “It’s hard trying to make much sense of it all now but I can’t help but think that God is using me as a testimony as to how much you can overcome with Him by your side.”

In general, recovery time for an A.C.L. injury is at least eight months.

“We’re all devastated for Paige,” UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “She’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this off-season, and this is an unfortunate setback. Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player but she’s a better person and teammate and it’s really unfortunate that this has happened to her. We’ll miss her presence on the court, but she’ll do everything she can to still lead and help her teammates this season.”

Bueckers underwent surgery on her left knee on Dec. 13 to repair an anterior tibial plateau fracture and lateral meniscus tear that she suffered during UConn’s game on Dec. 5 against Notre Dame.

She returned in late February and helped lead UConn to the national championship game, in which she notched 14 points and six rebounds in a loss to South Carolina in Minneapolis.

During the national semifinal against Stanford, she landed on her bad knee during a tussle for a jump ball and then covered her face with her hands.

“Some things, like what happened last night, are more of an in-the-moment type of pain and you can just shake it off,” Bueckers said then. “I was just stretching and making sure I could get back in the game as soon as possible.”

Bueckers was named the Associated Press and Naismith College Player of the Year as a freshman for the 2020-21 season, when she averaged 20.0 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

“God put a dream in my heart and even if I have to walk through a nightmare to get it I’m going to keep believing,” Bueckers wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.

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