Minnesota Wild defenceman Kurtis Foster taken off the ice on a stretcher Wednesday following a collision with San Jose Sharks rookie forward Torrey Mitchell.
Foster, 26, suffered a broken left leg.
"He was playing his best hockey," Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire said. It is a big loss."
Foster was racing Mitchell to the puck behind the Wild net when he was bumped, lost his balance and smacked hard into the end boards.
"I was just trying to get to the puck first," Mitchell said. "We collided and, obviously, it was unintentional.
"You never want to hurt anyone. I hope he is OK."
Foster remained prone for 12 minutes as medical personnel fitted him with a leg splint and strapped him to a backboard.
At one point, he screamed as the leg was treated.
Foster moved his head and talked to paramedics as they removed him from the ice 5:18 into the second period of the Wild's 4-3 shootout loss at HP Pavilion.
He was later treated for a displaced fracture of his left femur at San Jose's O'Connor Hospital.
Mitchell received a two-minute penalty for tripping.
"It wasn't one of the best games refereed this year," Lemaire said.
Foster has posted seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 55 games this season, his fifth in the NHL.
The Carp, Ont., native has totalled 20 goals and 70 points in 175 games with the Atlanta Thrashers and Wild since being taken in the second round (40th overall) in the 2000 NHL draft.