Sports

UConn’s Paige Bueckers to Miss at Least Eight Weeks After Surgery

Paige Bueckers, the reigning national player of the year in women’s basketball, had successful surgery on her left knee on Monday, the University of Connecticut announced on Tuesday.

The surgery at UConn Health repaired the anterior tibial plateau fracture and lateral meniscus tear that Bueckers, a 5-foot-11 sophomore at UConn, sustained in the team’s home game on Dec. 5 against Notre Dame.

The university said her recovery was estimated to take eight weeks, which would mean the week of Feb. 7. UConn’s regular season ends Feb. 27, with the Big East and N.C.A.A. tournaments after that.

UConn (6-2), which is tied with Tennessee at No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, has 16 games before Feb. 9, including dates with No. 6 Louisville on Sunday and a rematch at No. 1 South Carolina on Jan. 27. UConn is 1-1 since Bueckers’s injury, losing at unranked Georgia Tech last Thursday and beating unranked U.C.L.A. on Saturday in Newark.

Bueckers was averaging 21.2 points, 6.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds a game before her injury.

After signing with Wasserman Media Group in August in the wake of the N.C.A.A. permitting college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, Bueckers last month became the first college athlete to sign an endorsement deal with Gatorade. She also has a deal with the global sneaker and streetwear reseller StockX.

Bueckers is one of four Huskies currently injured, along with the freshman Azzi Fudd (foot), the sophomore Nika Muhl (foot) and the junior Aubrey Griffin (back, ankle).

Two players, Saylor Poffenbarger and Mir McLean, are transferring, leaving UConn with eight healthy players.

“Every time somebody is out, that gives somebody an opportunity to step in,” Auriemma said.

“Now when Paige and the rest of our players do come back, there’s more people in the party instead of outside hoping to get in and feel like they belong here and can contribute not just when have to, but they’ll be able to contribute as part of the natural flow of our offense.”

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