Going through an airport in Washington for the team's flight back to Orlando, a security official asked him to raise his hands to be screened.
Carter couldn't lift his left shoulder, which trainers later diagnosed as a "mild separation," putting his return as day to day. But he was still able to make light of the situation.
"It was funny. He didn't know. He's like, 'Sir, you got to put your arm up,'" Carter recalled.
Carter doesn't expect to miss much time.
While he was out of the lineup against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night, Carter said his shoulder is mostly sore. He went through some basketball motions Saturday and is already undergoing treatment.
Carter said he hopes to be back as soon as Tuesday, when Orlando begins a 4-game Western trip at Sacramento. Trainers told Carter the injury does not require surgery.
"It's all the same to me. Sprain, separation, pain -- they all intertwine to me," he said. "But it made for some uncomfortable sleep last night, that's for sure."
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said J.J. Redick will start in Carter's place and everybody else will have to fill in the gaps until Carter returns. Even Van Gundy doesn't expect that to be long.
"It's just a matter of getting the inflammation and the pain down to where he can handle it and then he'll be able to play," Van Gundy said. "I don't think it's a long-term thing by any stretch of the imagination."
The injury comes at the worst time for the Magic.
They've lost four straight games -- all to teams with losing records -- for the first time since February 2007, the year before Van Gundy arrived. Orlando's trip also includes stops at the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver and Portland.
Carter also was in the midst of a shooting slump before he was injured in a collision with Andray Blatche in the second quarter of the Magic's 104-97 loss at Washington on Friday night. He had missed 37 of 47 shots in his previous four games, then hit one of two field goals and all six free throws Friday before being hurt.
But Carter was also able to laugh about the odd situation that unfolded during the injury.
Carter lay writhing on the floor near the 3-point line at the Wizards' end of the court while play continued. The Magic didn't call a timeout, playing a man short while teammate Jason Williams hit a 3-pointer. But with the Wizards playing around the injured Carter, the Magic finally committed a foul to stop play.
Carter said it felt like forever before a whistle.
"I just remember going down, and I was laying there and I looked back, and I just see everybody running by me," Carter said. "I'm like, this is crazy. Don't run me over."