Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal broke a bone in his right leg in a preseason game at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
Staal, who was hit by Buffalo defenseman Josh Gorges in the third period, sustained the injury in his lower leg, general manager Ron Francis said in a statement released Tuesday night.
Staal will return to Raleigh, N.C., with the team Wednesday and be evaluated Thursday. A recovery timetable was not revealed.
"I'm concerned for sure. He's a big piece of what we're going to do moving forward," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said before the diagnosis, according to The Associated Press.
The AP said Staal "was skating up the right boards inside the Sabres zone when he was checked into the boards by Gorges. Staal immediately fell to the ice and lay on his side for a few seconds before play was stopped. A trainer attended to Staal, who eventually needed help to get up. He was unable to put any weight on his leg while being escorted off the ice."
Stall played all 130 regular-season games for the Hurricanes the past two seasons since being acquired in a trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Buffalo won the game, 2-0.
The Hurricanes play at the New York Islanders on Wednesday. Carolina opens the regular season Oct. 10 against the Islanders.