Tom Wilson says he suffered a “significant” knee injury that may require surgery. He tried to return to the show, but couldn’t.

Tom Wilson says he suffered a "significant" knee injury that may require surgery.  He tried to return to the show, but couldn't.
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A freshly shaved Thomas Wilson was one of the first Capitals players to speak to the press on the day of the outage, Sunday.

Wilson, dressed in all black, spoke somberly about an injury he sustained three shifts in Game 1 against the Florida Panthers. Shortly after scoring the Capitals’ first postseason goal, Wilson tried to hit MacKenzie Weegar behind the net and crashed into the boards. One of Wilson’s skates could be seen turned sideways upon impact on replays. The Toronto native was unable to return and missed the rest of the six-game first-round series.

Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette described the injury as a lower-body issue and that Wilson was out every day. Today Wilson described the issue as a knee injury that may require surgery. The injury will keep Wilson away for “a while.”

“I have a pretty significant injury,” Wilson said. “I have to talk to the doctors. We obviously talked a lot, but the focus was on the team.

“It was kind of a weird, weird thing,” Wilson said. “I went into the shot and twisted my knee. Everything you heard was honest. I was doing everything I could to come back. Just one of those things I couldn’t do. A bit of a shame but that’s how it is. It kinda sucks that it happened at this time (of the year). I’ve been pretty good all season (with injuries).

“I tried to avoid the blow a bit,” Wilson continued. “I was going in, I was going in pretty fast, and I tried to dodge it a bit and I put myself in danger. Probably hyper-extended my leg in the boards or something. I spun around boards to get on my left leg and I’m not sure what happened, I tried and it wasn’t good.

When asked specifically if he tore his ACL, Wilson dodged the question.

“I don’t really know how it works,” Wilson said. “I haven’t had a lot of injuries. I don’t know how specific I want to be now to be completely honest with you. I’m a pretty tough guy and I don’t want to give away too much information. I’m sure it will come out at some point. We’ll leave that for another day.

Wilson confirmed that despite his knee problem, he was trying to get back on the show – perhaps recklessly. When the Capitals were facing elimination after losing 5-3 in Game 5, Wilson got off the Florida team’s flight and went to the MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Wilson skated hard to test his knee but ultimately didn’t feel like he could come back. He clarified an observation from an RMNB reader who spotted him at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex. “I saw somewhere where I was flying around the ice,” Wilson said with a smirk. “I certainly wasn’t flying.”

He added: “It was one of those things where I was trying to be the unique situation where the weird person can kind of [come back from it]. Get a splint and get out and there’s a chance. I was trying everything I could. I just wasn’t able to do it.

Wilson choked up remembering his rehab. “I was trying everything I could (to come back). Every person you meet, every fan, every person, ‘We need you, we need you.’ It was tough. You kinda feel like you let people down and that sucks.

“Watching [the series] was extremely difficult to think that you know you could help or make a small difference at different times.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan wasn’t as optimistic as Wilson about returning to the series or later down the line in deeper rounds.

“He wasn’t going to come back,” MacLellan said. “They have exit medicals here. They’ll make a decision in a day or two on what we’re doing. [Surgery] is on the table.”

Despite the playoffs ending, Wilson had his best year yet. The top-line right-winger recorded career-highs in goals (24), assists (28), points (52) and power-play points (10) this season and made his first appearance on the All-Star Game. For the third year in a row, Wilson kept his penalty minutes under 100. He faced no additional discipline for the hits he gave out.

“My summer sucks now in more ways than one,” Wilson said of the Capitals’ first-round loss and the intense rehabilitation that awaits him. “I have to start my recovery.”

Screenshot: Capitals

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