Paige Bookers tears ACL in pickup basketball game, misses season

UConn star guard Paige Bookers tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee on Monday and will miss the 2022-23 women’s basketball season, the university announced Wednesday.

Bookers, a 20-year-old guard from Minnesota, was injured while playing pickup basketball, UConn officials said in a statement. The 5-foot-11 junior will undergo surgery Friday at UConn Health.

“It’s so crazy because you’ve been working so hard to get back healthy, feeling stronger than ever, and playing your best basketball, and with one sudden move, everything changes,” Bookers wrote on Instagram. It’s hard to try to make much sense of it all right now, but I can’t help but think that God is using me as a testimony of how much you will overcome with Him.

Generally, the recovery time for an ACL injury is at least eight months.

“We are all devastated for Paige,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said in a statement. “He’s worked really hard to get stronger and healthier this offseason and it’s an unfortunate loss. Paige is obviously an amazing basketball player, but he’s a better person and teammate, and it’s really unfortunate that this happened to him. We’ll miss him on the court, but he’s going to do everything he can.” , to continue to lead and help his teammates this season.”

Bickers had left knee surgery Dec. 13 to repair a fractured anterior tibial plateau and a torn lateral meniscus he suffered during UConn’s Dec. 5 game against Notre Dame.

He returned in late February and helped lead UConn to the national championship game in which he had 14 points and six rebounds in a loss to South Carolina in Minneapolis.

In the national semifinals against Stanford, he landed on a bad knee while fighting for a jump ball and then covered his face with his hands.

“Some things, like what happened last night, are more of a momentary type of pain and you can just let it go,” Bookers said at the time. “I was just stretching and making sure I got back in the game as soon as possible.”

Bookers was named the Associated Press and Naismith College Player of the Year as a freshman for the 2020-21 season, when he averaged 20.0 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

“God put a dream in my heart and even if I have to walk through a nightmare to achieve it, I will continue to believe,” Bookers wrote on Instagram Wednesday.

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