What Paige Bueckers' injury means for UConn
The Huskies' outlook for the 2022-23 season has changed drastically without Bueckers.
On Wednesday, UConn announced the devastating news that Paige Bueckers tore her ACL in a Monday pickup game and will miss the entirety of the 2022-23 season. The injury changes the trajectory of the superstar’s career and dramatically upends the outlook for the Huskies this year.
Another devastating blow for Bueckers
Before we get into the basketball implications of the injury, we first need to acknowledge the personal impact on Bueckers.
She’s entering her third year at UConn and has still yet to have a “normal” season. As a freshman, she endured the bizarre COVID-shortened campaign that went on without fans in the stands. Last year, she missed 19 games with a tibial plateau fracture and torn meniscus in her left knee. Now, Bueckers won’t even have the chance to put on a uniform this season.
Bueckers is a true competitor who truly loves the game of basketball. This is a cruel fate keeping her off the court and harming her long-term professional outlook.
In a long message on Instagram, Bueckers refused to get down on herself and even used the adversity to inspire the next generation.
“Some little kid that just tore their ACL or had a major surgery might need this story,” Bueckers wrote on Instagram.
UConn’s national title hopes take a major hit
With Bueckers, UConn would’ve likely opened the season as the No. 2 team in the country behind South Carolina and could’ve taken over the top spot with a strong performance in non-conference play. Now, the Huskies will need to prove they’re still among the nation’s elite.
Even without the superstar, UConn has plenty of talent. Ducharme and Fudd both had moments where they carried the team at points last season while Lopez Sénéchal is used to being the focal point of an offense from her time at Fairfield. Dorka Juhász and Aaliyah Edwards are both expected to make leaps this offseason, too. The Huskies shouldn’t fall apart — especially with Geno Auriemma in charge — but exactly what their ceiling is will be one of the most fascinating storylines this season.
Nika Mühl’s role just got bigger
Just like that, Nika Mühl is UConn’s most important player.