Before UConn women’s basketball’s 69-38 win over Marquette on Wednesday, Paige Bueckers dressed in her uniform and warmed up with the team for the first time since her knee injury. Though she didn’t play, her presence alone represents a step forward in her recovery.
On Thursday, she’ll meet with Dr. Robert A. Arciero — the chief of the Sports Medicine Division of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at UConn Health.
“After tomorrow, we’ll see what happens,” Geno Auriemma said postgame.
The coach also shared that roughly a month ago, Bueckers came into the athletic training room with “this big, swollen knee.”
“Everybody said, ‘This is not good and this is gonna set you back a long time,’” Auriemma said. “She came back two days later and it was gone.”
So what happened?
“She goes, ‘I’m different. I told God I needed this swelling to go out and it went out.’ I kid you not, this is the kind of stuff I gotta listen to,” Auriemma said. “The kid just has this knack of she heals at her own pace.”
At the very least, this is a more positive outlook than Sunday, when Auriemma said Bueckers would not return during the regular season. Still, he didn’t provide any real timeline for her return.
“Punxsutawney Paige sees her shadow, right?” he quipped. “Might be two more weeks of rehab, I don’t know.”
Dorka Juhász leaves the game
Juhász left Wednesday’s game after taking a shot to the face in the fourth quarter. She went into the locker room with the team’s training staff and did not return to the floor. Postgame, Auriemma said that Juhász just needed a few stitches in her lip.
“It’s a classic one when you get hit in the mouth and you know your teeth — her teeth are fine — but she just had to cut inside her lip and our doctors took care of it,” Auriemma said.
UConn also announced that Juhász will participate in the team’s senior day festivities on Sunday at Gampel Pavilion but has not made a decision about returning for her fifth year. Over the summer, Juhász told The UConn Blog that she didn’t plan on coming to Storrs for just one season but also wanted to keep her options open.
“When I transferred, I’m definitely looking forward to having that two years,” she said at the time. “It’s gonna be one by one. We’ll see how obviously this year goes but I’m definitely not looking forward to just using one year, I’m definitely looking forward to using two.”