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UConn star Paige Bueckers sidelined with leg fracture

Notre Dame UConn Basketball
Jessica Hill
AP Photo
UConn's Paige Bueckers (5) is helped off the court by Amari DeBerry (left) after injuring herself in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Storrs, Conn.

The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team will be without its best player for a large chunk of the season.

The school announced Tuesday that guard Paige Bueckers is out six to eight weeks because of a leg fracture.

“It would be really hard to describe how much basketball means to Paige and how much her teammates mean to her,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “Not being able to do the thing that she loves to do, to be there for her teammates, is really difficult for her.”

Bueckers suffered a noncontact injury late in Sunday’s 73-54 victory over Notre Dame. She was bringing the ball up the court with about 40 seconds left in the game when her left foot landed awkwardly on the hardwood, prompting a fall. She got back up but struggled. Bueckers was then helped off the court.

A UConn spokesperson said an MRI showed a tibial plateau fracture. That’s a break in the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg.

Auriemma says it’s not about how fast Bueckers gets back, but rather what’s best for Bueckers long term.

“Everyone involved with this program will be there to support Paige through her healing process,” Auriemma said.

Bueckers has averaged 21 points per game in the 2021-22 season. Last season, Bueckers won AP Player of the Year, the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy — the first time a freshman won national player of the year honors.

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