John Carlson has not played in a game or skated with the Capitals since absorbing a Brenden Dillon slap shot to the side of the head on December 23. Carlson was immediately transported to the hospital that night and released on Christmas Eve.
While the Capitals have said officially that Carlson is out long-term, little is known about the scary upper-body injury John suffered. Carlson bled profusely after being struck in the head, but in a Christmas day photo posted by his wife Gina, he appeared to have no visible wounds or stitches.
Now, in a birthday post published by Gina on Instagram, Carlson’s injury is becoming more clear.
Warning: The description of Carlson’s injury may be disturbing to some.
In an honest and sweet message to John on Instagram, Gina described how proud she was of his recovery and how great of a father he is. She also revealed that — prepare yourself — John’s ear had to be re-attached.
“When they told me right away that you walked off the ice a couple weeks ago, and that was a good sign, it didn’t make me feel any better bc I know it would take your legs not working for you to not get up,” Gina wrote of Carlson’s injury.
“With your ear back on 🙈, you came home from the hospital & did it all,” she continued. “When I woke up Christmas morning after being sick the whole night before, I laughed and cried at the same time when I realized as always, you made no short-cuts, literally not one after no sleep and hospitalized, homemade cookies for Santa, cooked an amazing dinner, all the kids presents perfectly arranged with their new hockey sticks positioned up against their motorcycle sleds, full stockings.
“The moment the doctor said you could walk, you went out on a walk, then you were told you could ride the bike, and you were at the rink on the bike. I admire so much your dedication and work ethic even when it means I have to hang by myself when I try to bribe you to stay home with me 😘 Your strength doesn’t even come close to your heart and the husband and dad you are.”
Gina’s full post is below.
The night of Carlson’s injury, Alan May reported on NBC Sports Washington’s postgame show that the Norris Trophy finalist had left a trail of blood from the ice to the locker room.
As for Carlson’s recovery, the first-pairing defenseman attended the Capitals’ game against the Buffalo Sabres on January 3 at Capital One Arena.
“I saw him last night,” Laviolette said the next day. “He actually feels good. It still is a long road for him.
“He feels good, a little bit more back to normal which was really good. He looked good to me (as compared to) you know when we saw him the next day or the day after. And now he looked good last night. He sounded good and he looked good. It was really positive for us to see as a team.”
Carlson is expected to be out months but should be back before the end of the regular season.
Editor’s note: We obtained permission from Gina Carlson to publish these details.
January 11, 1 pm update: Gina Carlson shared more nuanced details about her husband’s injury in her Instagram Story, clarifying that Carlson’s ear was not “literally off his head” and “wasn’t detached on the ice.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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