Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has a broken vertebra and a severe concussion, the team confirmed Wednesday.
The 22-year-old is still in hospital after he was knocked out of Tuesday's NHL game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Pacioretty's head struck the partition between the player benches after a hit from Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara late in the second period.
Coach Jacques Martin said Pacioretty will be out of the game indefinitely.
"My first concern is for him to get his health back," Martin told reporters after practice in Brossard, Que.
Martin said Pacioretty fractured his fourth cervical vertebra, but added that it had not been displaced.
He said Pacioretty would remain in hospital under observation.
'You hope that he can recover and continue his career."— Jacques Martin, Montreal Canadiens coach
"You hope that he can recover and continue his career," said Martin.
Chara was given a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct, but league officials decided Wednesday that no further disciplinary action was merited.
The Bruins defenceman said it wasn't his intention to push Pacioretty into the partition.
Some fans outside the Bell Centre on Wednesday were outraged after Chara's hit.
"When I first saw the hit, I thought he was dead," said Dwayne Aube.
Before the NHL decided not to suspend Chara, some fans called on the league to give him a lengthy suspension.