UConn’s Bueckers Out 6-8 Weeks With Tibial Plateau Fracture

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    With a 19 point lead and 38 seconds left to go in UConn’s women’s basketball game against Notre Dame Sunday, UConn’s Gampel Pavilion was loud and into the game, as per usual.

    Until it wasn’t.

    Reigning Naismith Player of the Year Paige Bueckers, who is widely regarded as the best player in the nation, went down in pain after her knee buckled.

    UConn’s Paige Bueckers #5 is carried off the court by her teammates Evina Westbrook #22 and Amari DeBerry #42 after a lower-body injury late in the game. | Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

    As the crowd went completely silent, not a single sound was made for a few minutes as she lay on the court in clear pain surrounded by teammates.

    Bueckers was helped off the court by medical staff and Huskies fans’ minds instantly went to the worst possible outcome – a torn ACL for the star guard.  

    Then, Huskies fans began finger-pointing, mostly at head coach Geno Auriemma for leaving her in the game with such a large lead, despite not sitting at any point prior. While this was all happening, fans everywhere sat and waited impatiently as she went through MRIs and CT scans.

    On Tuesday morning, however, the UConn faithful was given good news: Bueckers’s injury was only a tibial plateau fracture. A six-to-eight-week recovery is needed, but it isn’t the worst-case scenario.

    “Obviously, we’re all extremely disappointed for Paige and that she suffered this injury. It would be really hard to describe how much basketball means to Paige and how much her teammates mean to her,” said UConn head women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma in a statement. “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.” 

    Bueckers will miss multiple big games, including battles with UCLA, Louisville, Oregon, and potentially South Carolina. But the most important thing to take away from all of this is that #5 will be back. And that alone will make UConn a major player once March hits.

    Prior to her injury, Bueckers was having another big-time season. Averaging 21.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.7 steals, and 0.8 blocks. What doesn’t show on the stat sheet, however, is just how dominant she had been on defense this year. Whether Bueckers was cutting off passing lanes, constantly picking up back door cuts, suffocating 1v1 matchups, or just being on the court, she was looking like a player with no fear and no weaknesses through 6 games.

    UConn will be visiting Georgia Tech Thursday, likely down 3 key players. It will be interesting to see how Auriemma responds to all of this and to see who steps up.

    After the Notre Dame game, signs are pointing towards that player being true freshman Caroline Ducharme, who scored 14 points in as many minutes along with 3 rebounds and a block.

    Isiah DeLuca
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