UConn sophomore women’s basketball player Paige Bueckers will be sidelined six to eight weeks with a fracture in her left knee that she suffered Sunday.
The reigning Player of the Year had an MRI and CT scans Monday that revealed a tibial plateau fracture. Bueckers collapsed with 40 seconds left in the Huskies’ 73-54 win over Notre Dame while dribbling the ball up the floor. She was carried off the Gampel Pavilion floor by two teammates.
“Obviously, we’re all extremely disappointed for Paige and that she suffered this injury,” Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “It would be really hard to describe how much basketball means to Paige and how much her teammates mean to her. Not being able to do the thing that she loves to do, to be there for her teammates, is really difficult for her.
“We’ve had players get injured in the past and my philosophy here is: I’m not interested in how fast we can get someone back; I’m interested in what’s best for them long term. Every decision made will prioritize what’s best for Paige and her career. Everyone involved with this program will be there to support Paige through her healing process.”
Bueckers, who underwent right ankle surgery in April, leads No. 3 UConn in points per game (21.2), assists (6.2), steals (2.7) and minutes (36.3), and is second on the team in rebounds (5.5) and blocks (0.8). She was named the Naismith, Wooden, AP, espnW and USBWA player of the year as a freshman.
The estimated recovery timeline would put Bueckers’ return in mid- to late-January, ahead of UConn’s rematch with No. 1 South Carolina.
UConn’s depth, which looked like a strength heading into the season, has dwindled in the first month of the season. In addition to Bueckers, freshman Azzi Fudd is also sidelined with a foot injury. She will be reevaluated next week. Junior Aubrey Griffin also is unavailable because of ankle and back injuries, and no timetable on her return has been shared.
UConn (5-1) returns to action against Georgia Tech on Thursday. It has upcoming nonconference games against UCLA on Saturday and No. 7 Louisville on Dec. 19. After a 10-day break, UConn opens a seven-game stretch against Big East opponents on Dec. 29. The Huskies’ lone loss has been to No. 1 South Carolina, and the teams are scheduled to play again Jan. 27 in Columbia.