Paige Bueckers underwent successful right ankle surgery on Friday to repair an osteochondral defect, UConn announced on Saturday. The operation was performed at UConn Heath Center in Farmington. Bueckers is expected to be ready for preseason in September.
According to StanfordHealthCare.org, an osteochondral defect “refers to a focal area of damage that involves both the cartilage and a piece of underlying bone. These can occur from an acute traumatic injury to the knee or an underlying disorder of the bone.”
UConn did not specify when the injury that prompted surgery occurred. Bueckers did deal with an ankle issue for most of the season after rolling her ankle in the Huskies’ Jan. 21 win over Tennessee. She eventually returned to the game and hit a game-clinching shot, though she sat out UConn’s next game against Georgetown on Jan. 23.
Bueckers rolled the same ankle again on Feb. 20 at Xavier but again returned to the game. Head coach Geno Auriemma didn’t sound overly concerned when asked about it at halftime.
“I asked her if she’d be ready for the NCAA Tournament...I can’t tell you what she said so I put her back in,” he told SNY.
If Bueckers’ ankle bothered her throughout the rest of the season, she didn’t let it impact her performance. The freshman finished the year with 20.0 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while hitting 46.4 percent from three.
She also became the first freshman to win the AP, Naismith Trophy, USBWA and Wooden Award National Player of the Year Awards, was named a First Team All-American by the AP, Wooden Award, USBWA, WBCA, took home two co-freshman of the year honors, earned Big East Player and Rookie of the Year, won the Nancy Lieberman Award and was given the Most Outstanding Player award for both the Big East Tournament and River Walk Region.