Bridget Carleton remains out after taking blow to face

Freshman guard Bridget Carleton drives towards the net during a game against the Drake Bulldogs, Nov. 15 in Des Moines. The Cyclones would go on to lose 74-70.

Luke Manderfeld

ISU women’s basketball forward Bridget Carleton hasn’t returned to practice or games after taking a shot to the face last week in Cancun, Mexico. 

While taking a charge against Duke last Friday, Carleton took an elbow to the face. ISU coach Bill Fennelly said there was blood all over the floor when she rolled over. 

Carleton got up and couldn’t remember what day it was, Fennelly said. She was brought to the hospital where she was given eight stitches on her lip. The extent of the injury has mainly to do with the oral injuries, but she also suffered a concussion in the blow. 

This week, she had her first root canal to fix the injury and has been sitting at home to recover. But there is still a long process ahead. 

“She’s got about a four-month process ahead of her,” Fennelly said. “She got her first root canal, so that’s exciting. She feels better. Obviously, not ready to play yet, but we’re hoping it’ll be soon.  It won’t be on Sunday.”

Iowa State emerged victorious against Northern Iowa on Wednesday night, but it was without Carleton’s services on the court and off it. She didn’t make the trip because of her injury. 

This week hasn’t been fun at home for Carleton. The mouth injury has affected more than just basketball. 

“Because you’re mouth hurts, you can’t eat, so you’re dehydrated and you’re tired and all that,” Fennelly said. “Then you take antibiotics, which make you sick, so she’s had a hell of a week. She’s making progress, she’s a tough kid. She wants to play, but hopefully we’re making progress to getting her back on the court. We’re not close to that just yet.”

After the UNI game, she sent a flurry of texts to the players to congratulate them on the team’s first win in three games. 

Though at home, Carleton still acted like she was at the game, her teammates said. 

“She said she was yelling [at the] TV and screaming up and down,” said Kidd Blaskowsky. “She was the only one in her apartment, so we got a pretty good kick out that.”

The injury doesn’t stop Carleton from wanting to play, though. Almost every day, Carleton has texted Fennelly that she wants to get back on the court. 

“I think there’s a little Canadian hockey player in her or something because she’s always telling me she can go,” Fennelly said. “She told me the day after the Duke game she could go. She couldn’t even stand up and didn’t know what day it was, but she thought she could play.”

The definitive timetable is still iffy for Carleton, and Fennelly did leave room for a quick return. But most of the signs point to her missing multiple games. 

“She wants to play,” Fennelly said. “Hopefully we’re making progress to getting her back on the court, but we’re not really close to that just yet.”