STORRS, Connecticut — Editor's note: The video above originally aired Feb. 5, 2021.
UConn guard and Minnesota native Paige Bueckers will miss 6 to 8 weeks after an MRI revealed she suffered a tibial plateau fracture of her left knee during the final seconds of a blowout win over Notre Dame Sunday.
Healthline.com defines the injury as a break or crack in the top of the shin bone, at the knee. It involves the cartilage surface of the knee joint. This joint helps supports a person's body weight, and when fractured the joint is unable to absorb shock.
Bueckers, the reigning National Player of the Year, was bringing the ball up the floor with 38 seconds remaining when her leg crumpled and she fell to the court in obvious pain. Two teammates ran on the floor and carried her to the bench.
While an obvious blow to the second-ranked Huskies, the injury to Bueckers could have been more severe. Initial speculation was a tear to her ACL or another knee ligament, which is normally a one-year recovery.
"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 coach Geno Auriemma in a released 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."
UConn fans were quick to question why Bueckers was still in the game with the win no longer in question, and Auriemma did little to calm them down at a press conference that followed Sunday's game.
"I don't have an answer for why she was in the game," Auriemma said. "But yeah, I don't like our team without her on the court."