UConn star Paige Bueckers, who missed the entire 2022-23 season due to a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, is closing in on a return to action.
The 2020-21 Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy winner gave an update on her condition on Wednesday in Storrs, Conn.
“I’m feeling really good,” Bueckers said. “I’m just past the 10-month mark (after getting hurt and undergoing surgery), so I’m definitely starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the finishing mark. But there’s a long way to go. ACL recoveries take a long time.”
The rising senior guard said she is competing in drills with small groups of players but has yet to venture into a five-on-five setting.
Bueckers burst onto the college basketball scene as a freshman in 2020-21, when she averaged 20.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals while leading the Huskies to the Final Four.
She was limited to 17 games the following season due to left knee and leg injuries, though she helped UConn get to the national final.
Last August, she sustained the ACL tear.
“I was asking like, ‘Why? Like this doesn’t make sense,’” she said. “Like, I was feeling healthy, like strong. I just come back from a different knee injury. So, like, ‘Why now? Why me?’ …
“The big picture of life is to never take anything for granted. At any single moment of any single day, anything can be taken away from you.
“And to just, I mean, look at how much of a blessing it is to wake up every morning and trying to find the extreme positives in life and trying to use this adversity to know that there’s a better story coming and sort of finding my identity outside of basketball and how much I value first being a good person and that is exemplified and magnified when you’re not playing basketball.”
Without Bueckers, UConn went 31-6 in 2022-23 and lost in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
–Field Level Media