Paige Bueckers' very rare knee injury, explained (2024)

Paige Bueckers' very rare knee injury, explained (1)

Mike D. Sykes, II

December 7, 2021 2:03 pm ET

The college basketball world breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday after UConn finally revealed the extend of Paige Bueckers’ knee injury.

For those of you out of the loop, Bueckers went down with a non-contact knee injury on Sunday against Notre Dame. She went to make a move and her knee just buckled underneath her.

Folks feared the worst after seeing it happen live, naturally. Again, this was a non-contact knee injury. Those things are literally never good. You can only hope for minimal damage at that point.

That’s why when UConn announced the injury was a tibial plateau fracture, people were a bit relieved.

They tweeted the news out on Tuesday.

We're all behind you, Paige 💙

— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) December 7, 2021

Obviously, this still stinks. But compared to the alternatives of a potential ligament injury? This seems fine. It doesn’t throw too much of a wrench into her already stellar college career.

But this injury is still weird, though. A tibial plateau fracture? That’s a rare one. Folks had lots of questions about what it actually is and how it works.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here’s more information about what this is and how it can be dealt with.

So what is a tibial plateau fracture?

Honestly, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A fracture at the plateau of the tibia in the leg. It generally seems to happen when there’s a hyperextension of the knee.

That’s just my understanding of it, though. Here’s a much, much smarter breakdown from the Hartford Courant’s Alexa Philippou.

H/t to @InStreetClothes for explaining to me a tibial plateau fracture in layman's terms:

"Basically what happened is the two leg bones clunked together.. when you hyperextend [your knee], those bones knock together. The plateau is just the flat top of that bone, & so it cracks"

— Alexa Philippou (@alexaphilippou) December 7, 2021

So, basically, she hyperextended the knee and her bones were knocked together hard enough for one to crack.


Oof. That sounds very painful.

It certainly does. But, luckily, it’s not something that will require surgery for Bueckers. It’s just something that will take time to heal.

Paige Bueckers sustained a non-contact hyperextension knee injury. This mechanism of injury can cause bone bruising, the most extreme form of which is a crack in the bone. Depending on severity, important to let this fully heal before resuming basketball.

— DocFlynn (@DocFlynnNFL) December 7, 2021

How long will she be out?

UConn is saying the recovery should take 6-8 weeks, but it’s probably more likely that she’ll be reevaluated at that point to determine if she’s ready to come back to play.

Even before he knew what this injury was, head coach Geno Auriemma said he was more concerned with what’s best for Pagie long-term rather than how fast she can get back to the team.

“Obviously, we’re all extremely disappointed for Paige and that she suffered this injury,” he said in a statement. “We’ve had players get injured in the past and my philosophy here is, I’m not interested in how fast we can get someone back; I’m interested in what’s best for them long term.”

That’s the best approach to take for any young player.

Man, this injury sounds so weird. Have we ever seen it before?

We actually have, though it seems to be very rare in basketball. This is the same injury Kobe Bryant suffered to his knee back in 2013 after coming back from his Achilles tear.

The report then was that Bryant didn’t need to have surgery, but the bone needed to heal. And that, if it didn’t heal properly, it could come with some adverse effects.

Tibial plateau Kobe fractured is risky area at top of shin and involving joint. Affects knee alignment, stability, motion. Arthritis risks.

— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 19, 2013

It’s worth keeping in mind that Paige is much younger than Bryant was at that point, but those adverse effects are still worth noting.

Wow, so this could be serious?

Yes, exactly. This is exactly why UConn is right in taking its time with the recovery and not rushing Bueckers back. You want to make sure her knee is fully healed before she plays basketball again.

After all, she’s got a long, long career ahead of her.

Based on the user's request, it seems that they are looking for information related to the concepts mentioned in the article about Paige Bueckers' knee injury. The concepts mentioned in the article are "tibial plateau fracture," "hyperextension of the knee," "surgery," "recovery time," and "long-term effects." I will provide information on each of these concepts.

Tibial Plateau Fracture

A tibial plateau fracture is a type of fracture that occurs in the plateau region of the tibia, which is the larger bone in the lower leg. It typically happens when there is a hyperextension of the knee, causing the leg bones to knock together and resulting in a crack in the tibial plateau This type of fracture is considered rare and can be quite painful.

Hyperextension of the Knee

Hyperextension of the knee refers to the movement of the knee joint beyond its normal range of motion, usually in the backward direction. In the case of Paige Bueckers' injury, her knee was hyperextended when her bones knocked together, leading to the tibial plateau fracture.


Fortunately, Bueckers' tibial plateau fracture does not require surgery. According to the information provided, it is a non-contact hyperextension knee injury that can cause bone bruising, with the most extreme form being a crack in the bone. In Bueckers' case, the injury will heal over time without the need for surgical intervention.

Recovery Time

The estimated recovery time for Bueckers' tibial plateau fracture is 6-8 weeks. However, it is more likely that she will be reevaluated at that point to determine if she is ready to return to play. The focus is on her long-term well-being, and the coaching staff wants to ensure that her knee is fully healed before she resumes playing basketball.

Long-Term Effects

While tibial plateau fractures can be serious, especially if they do not heal properly, it is important to note that Bueckers is much younger than Kobe Bryant was when he suffered a similar injury. The adverse effects mentioned in the article, such as knee alignment, stability, and motion issues, as well as the risk of arthritis, are worth considering. This is why UConn is taking its time with Bueckers' recovery and prioritizing her long-term health and career .

I hope this information helps you understand the concepts mentioned in the article about Paige Bueckers' knee injury. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Paige Bueckers' very rare knee injury, explained (2024)
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