Darius Carter fought tooth and nail in Friday’s game against Indiana. Not so much nail, but especially tooth.
Carter took a hard elbow to the mouth as he went up for an offensive rebound in the second half of Wichita State’s matchup against Indiana on Friday in Omaha. One of his front teeth was pushed backward, or “displaced.”
That’s when dentist John Carnahan stepped in.
“I see him out on the court, he’s laying on his back and he’s pushing with his feet and he’s kind of walking himself back with his hands over his mouth,” said Carnahan, a general dentist with WSU’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry program. “I figured he’d just been hit in the nose, which is the normal thing to have happened.”
Coach Gregg Marshall approached Carnahan — who was seated behind the Shocker bench — and said, “you’re on.”
“At that point, I realized he probably didn’t want me to play basketball,” Carnahan said, laughing. “He’s smarter than that.”
Carnahan and his wife are friends of the Marshalls — his wife “is famous for her chicken fried steak dinner,” which she makes for the team once a year — and once he got through NCAA security, he found Carter’s tooth wasn’t missing like everyone thought.
“It got pushed back pretty far,” Carter said after the game, which the Shockers won 81-76. “The guys that were there couldn’t see it when I was in pain.”
Carter, Carnahan and company were escorted back to the locker room.
“We get him up,” Carnahan said, “and you know, he’s a tree.”
Back in the locker room, Carnahan “literally displaced it back in,” he said, similar to if someone broke a nose and it is popped back in place.
“It isn’t an enjoyable thing to have happen,” Carnahan said.
“When they pushed my tooth back in place,” Carter said, “I let out a big scream and I felt a release.”
Carnahan checked in with Carter before the University of Kansas game Sunday. He was fine.
“Once you get it put back in place, it’s a whole lot better,” he said. “But the pressure when you do that, you’re actually breaking the bone or compressing the bone, so it’s kind of painful until that bone can get back to normal.”
In a few months’ time, Carter’s tooth will need to be looked at again to see if it’s still “vital,” Carnahan said. If not, he’ll need to get a root canal.
Carnahan and his wife will travel to Cleveland to watch the Shockers compete in their third NCAA matchup against Notre Dame.
“They’re a really, really good bunch of kids,” he said. “I can’t say enough about ‘em. They’re really quality individuals. Coach Marshall really does get quality kids. None of them you wouldn’t want in your house, including Darius.”
Carter returned to Friday’s game with his re-displaced tooth and finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
“I’m thankful I got my tooth,” Carter said. “That will be a bad look to not have a tooth.”