UConn star Paige Bueckers carried off court with non-contact leg injury

UConn star Paige Bueckers needed help off the court on Sunday after suffering a non-contact leg injury against Notre Dame.

She sustained the injury in the game's final minute with UConn leading 70-52. Bueckers dribbled the ball over halfcourt, and her left leg buckled when she planted. She attempted to carry on with the possession before she collapsed on the floor, where she was surrounded by teammates.

Her teammates eventually carried her off the court to the sideline. She then limped to the locker room with the aid of two UConn staffers.

Geno Auriemma confirms knee injury

Head coach Geno Auriemma confirmed to reporters after the game that Bueckers suffered a knee injury, but an MRI scheduled for later was needed to determine the severity.

"It looked like it probably hyperextended, best case scenario," Auriemma said.

Connecticut's Paige Bueckers (5) is helped off the court by Amari DeBerrym, left, after injuring herself in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Notre Dame, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Connecticut's Paige Bueckers had to be carried off the court after suffering an injury late in Sunday's game against Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Why was Bueckers in the game?

He also addressed questions asking why Bueckers was in the game with UConn holding in 18-point lead in the final minute.

"She never wants to come out, Auriemma said, per The Athletic's Charlotte Carroll. "She's a pain in the ass to have on the bench 'cause all she does is complain about why she's not playing. And we've made a concerted effort in the last three or four games to get her some rest during the game.

"You're right, I don't have an answer for why she was in the game. I mean, that could happen at any time. ... I don't like our team without her on the court."

UConn won the game, 73-54.

Bueckers, a sophomore point guard, was a first-team All-American and named Associated Press and Naismith National Player of the Year as a freshman. She was a favorite to win the awards again entering the 2021 season. She was averaging 21 points, 6.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 57% from the field for the 5-1 Huskies who ranked No. 2 in the nation.

A significant injury would be a big blow for UConn and one of basketball's brightest young stars.