UConn star Paige Bueckers suffers devastating blow as extent of injury is revealed
Storrs, Connecticut - Paige Bueckers, UConn women’s top basketball player, will miss the 2022-23 season after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on Monday, the university announced.
The 20-year-old guard sustained her second knee injury during a pickup basketball game, and will undergo surgery on her left knee on Friday.
Bueckers missed nearly three months of play after a surgery on her left knee in December, but returned in February defying pain to lead UConn to the national championship game last season, which it lost to South Carolina.
The Naismith College Player of the Year athlete will receive a recovery timetable following this latest operation, according to the statement.
"We're all devastated for Paige," head coach Geno Auriemma said. "She's worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and this is an unfortunate setback."
"We'll miss her presence on the court, but she'll do everything she can to still lead and help her teammates this season. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better and stronger."
What will Bueckers absence mean for Uconn next season
The team that came so close to taking the title four months ago now faces an uphill battle without Bueckers next season.
She's not only one of UConn's leaders, but also one of the last prominent players after it lost three overall WNBA draft picks, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Christyn Williams, and Evina Westbrook.
The Huskies will be missing one of the most efficient point guards, passers, and shooters in the nation.
It's terrible timing for a program currently on its longest stretch without a national title since winning its first back in 1995. UConn is currently down to four healthy backcourt players: sophomores Caroline Ducharme and Azzi Fudd, junior Nika Muhl, and Fairfield graduate transfer Lou Lopez-Senechal, who is the only true point guard of the group.
Bueckers, meanwhile, is trying to stay positive and is hopeful that she can come back stronger than ever.
"It's hard trying to make 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," Bueckers wrote on Instagram. "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."
Cover photo: ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP