Bueckers injured her knee during a basketball game, according to the school statement, and an MRI later that evening confirmed the torn ACL. The statement did not specify where the Hopkins, Minnesota junior guard was playing when the injury occurred. It’s the same knee she injured last year, which caused her to miss a lot of time.
She will undergo surgery on Friday at UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut. An update on her recovery schedule will be available after the procedure.
In a statement posted to her Instagram account, Bueckers said she was leaning on her faith moving forward.
“It’s so crazy because you’re working so hard to get healthy, you feel stronger than ever, and you’re playing your best basketball and with one sudden movement, everything changes,” Bueckers wrote. “It’s hard trying to make sense of it all now, but I can’t help but feel that God is using me as a testimony to all that you can overcome with Him by your side. A little child Who just tore their ACL or had major surgery might need this story…because it’s going to be one hell of a throwback.”
She added: “Prayers and love mean so much to me and doubts that I will not return to where I was could mean even more. God has put a dream in my heart and even though I have to go through a nightmare to understand it, I will continue to believe it.”
Bueckers was the 2020-21 consensus National Player of the Year, becoming the first rookie to earn the honor and helping UConn reach the Women’s Final Four. She averaged 20.1 points, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game that season.
Bueckers missed 19 games last season after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his left knee and a torn meniscus in early December, but returned to help lead the Huskies to the national championship game, where they lost to Caroline from the south. She finished the season averaging 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.
“We are all devastated for Paige,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “She’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and it’s an unfortunate setback. Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player, but she’s a better person and a better teammate and that’s really sad that this happened to him.
“Her presence on the pitch will be missed, but she will do everything she can to continue to lead and help her teammates this season. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better. and stronger.”
UConn has lost its two top scorers in Christyn Williams and Evina Westbrook, and now without Bueckers in the lineup for the upcoming season, it will have lost 52% of its goal production, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Huskies’ top comeback scorers are Azzi Advantage and Caroline Ducharmewho also underwent left hip surgery in April.
UConn also has two of the top five incoming rookies in Ayanna Patterson (No. 4) and Isuneh Brady (No. 5), according to HoopGurlz.
Information from The Associated Press has been included in this report.