Geno Auriemma: Paige Bueckers (ACL) to be ready by season opener

After missing the entire 2022-23 season with a torn ACL in her left knee, Paige Bueckers has made enough progress in her recovery that UConn coach Geno Auriemma expects her to be ready for the start of the new season.

Bueckers tore the ACL during offseason workouts after the 2021-22 season. The last time she took the floor for a competitive game was the 2022 national title game, a loss to South Carolina.

Speaking at his annual charity golf tournament in Connecticut, Auriemma told reporters Bueckers is 90 percent recovered by now and cleared for everything except playing five-on-five.

“If we were in the Final Four this coming week, you think she’d play? Hell yeah, but this isn’t April,” Auriemma said.

Though the schedule has not yet been released, the college basketball season begins during the first week or two of November.

“If she’s not ready to go (by then), then I’m not ready to go,” Auriemma said. “Let’s put it that way.”

Auriemma’s comments come one week after Bueckers told reporters on campus in Storrs, Conn., that she felt “really good” but still had “a long way to go.”

Bueckers was named National Player of the Year as a freshman in 2020-21, when she averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while leading the Huskies to the Final Four. She was limited to 17 games (13 starts) the following year due to a left knee injury — a tibial plateau fracture that occurred before the ACL tear in the same knee in August 2022.

In 46 career games (42 starts), she has career averages of 18.0 points, 5.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per contest.

Bueckers is set to rejoin a team that also features star players Azzi Fudd and Aaliyah Edwards, key returners Nika Muhl and Caroline Ducharme and redshirt freshman Ice Brady, a highly touted recruit who missed her freshman season with a knee injury.

–Field Level Media