STORRS, Conn. (BVM) – Paige Bueckers will not be on the basketball court for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team for the 2022-23 season. The Huskies announced on Wednesday that the rising junior suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during a pick-up basketball game Monday and an MRI conducted that evening confirmed the injury.
“It’s so 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. 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 said in an Instagram post. “Some little kid that just tore their ACL or had a major surgery might need this story P, because it’s going to be one hell of a comeback. There is going to be good days and there is going to be bad days but my absolute love for the game and Godly strength will get me back to where I need to be. I’ve worked too hard for the little kid in these pictures to keep going for the dreams I’ve had since I first picked up the ball, so why would I stop now? The prayers and love means so much to me and the doubts that I won’t get back to where I was might mean even more. 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.”
“We’re all devastated for Paige. She’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason, and this is an unfortunate setback,” Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement Wednesday. “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. Our program will support Paige through her healing process to help her come back better and stronger.”
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) August 3, 2022
In December, Bueckers, who was the reigning AP women’s collegiate basketball player of the year at the time, suffered a fracture in her left during the team’s game against Notre Dame. The injury kept the star out until late February when she returned for a limited time. She would play in the team’s final 11 games making seven starts, including starting each of the Huskies’ six NCAA Tournament contests. In total, Bueckers played in 17 games with 13 starts averaging 14.6 points, 3.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 54.4% from the field and 35.3% from behind the 3-point line.
Injuries have dampened what seemed to be a legendary career for Bueckers with the Huskies. After arriving at UConn as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2020 out of Hopkins High School in Hopkins, Minnesota, Bueckers took the college basketball world by storm averaging 20 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds while 52.4% from the field and 46.4% from beyond the arc. Thanks to her stellar performance, Bueckers became the first freshman to ever earn the Wooden Award, Naismith Trophy, AP Player of the Year and USBWA Player of the Year.
Thanks in part to her strong on court performances, Bueckers has also become incredibly popular in the new Name, Image and Likeness market. To date, the Huskies star has signed deals with Cash App, Chegg, Crocs, Gatorade and StockX, just to name a few. During the NCAA Tournament, Bueckers was estimated to be the highest social media earner among players in the Sweet 16, both men and women, with a single post thought to be worth approximately $63,000.
Unfortunately for Bueckers and the Huskies, she will have to wait before she can wow fans on the court once again. Though she will not be able to lace up for UConn this winter, expect Bueckers to fully support her program on the sideline. Once she is able to return as a senior in the 2023-24 season, expect Bueckers to once again prove why she is one of the best and most profitable women’s basketball players in the world.