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Capitals’ Tom Wilson will miss six to eight months after ACL surgery

Tom Wilson was injured in Game 1 of the Capitals' first-round series with the Florida Panthers. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson underwent surgery to repair an ACL tear in his left knee Tuesday, the team announced, a procedure that is expected to sideline him for the start of the 2022-23 season.

Wilson was injured in Game 1 of Washington’s first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Florida Panthers and did not play the remainder of the postseason. Washington lost the series, four games to two.

Wilson’s recovery time is six to eight months. The earliest he would return is late November.

The 28-year-old was hurt early in Game 1 after he took the worst of a hit he tried to throw on Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar along the boards. Wilson left the game and didn’t return.

“It was kind of a weird, kind of freak thing,” Wilson said in mid-May after Washington was eliminated from the playoffs. “I went into the hit and tweaked my knee. Everything you guys heard was honest. I was doing everything I could to try to get back. It was just one of those things where I wasn’t able to.”

The Capitals listed Wilson as “day-to-day” until the season’s end. Wilson skated twice on his own, trying to see whether he could play with a torn ACL, but ultimately could not.

“I was trying to be the unique situation or the odd person that can do it,” Wilson said. “You get a brace, and you get out there, and there’s a chance. So I was trying everything I could. I just wasn’t able to do it.”

Wilson is coming off his best offensive year, with career highs of 24 goals and 28 assists. He also made his first All-Star Game appearance.

Wilson’s surgery was the only procedure the Capitals announced Wednesday. There is still a possibility that Nicklas Backstrom, who dealt with a nagging hip injury all season, will have offseason surgery.

The veteran center needed hip surgery in 2015 but the issue flared up at the end of the 2020-21 season. He spent last summer rehabbing and missed the first two months of this season. Backstrom, 34, said in mid-May that his hip will “never be 100 percent” again.

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