The Columbus Blue Jackets lost their home opener on Thursday night, and they also lost one of the team's most important players after defenseman Zach Werenski left the game with a quad contusion in the second period.

The 26-year-old was hit knee-on-knee by Philadelphia Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway at 14:22 of the middle frame; he needed to be helped off the ice and was later diagnosed with a contusion in his right knee.

The Jackets would go on to lose the game 4-2 in front of the home crowd at Nationwide Arena.

“It was really tough to see,” Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner said afterwards, per's Craig Merz. “I'm not sure how he's doing, but [he's] a big piece here. He worked his [tail] off last year to get back to be with us, and it's tough to see him going down, but hopefully he bounces back quick.”

Luckily for the team, head coach Pascal Vincent said afterwards that the injury is not believed to be long-term. That's excellent news after Werenski was limited to just 13 contests in 2022-23 due to a torn labrum and separated shoulder sustained in a game back in November of 2022.

Although Hathaway received a major penalty for kneeing, the infraction was later reduced to a minor following a review.

“Obviously, you hate to see the best players go out like that,” rookie Adam Fantilli said, per Merz. “Tough play, didn’t have the puck. A great guy, great player. Hopefully it's not too serious.”

Zach Werenski has been a key piece of the Blue Jackets in his career, scoring 79 goals and 245 points in 417 regular-season games. He's added 13 Stanley Cup Playoff points in 29 apperances.

The Blue Jackets will hope to have their most important defenseman back when they welcome the New York Rangers to Nationwide Arena on Saturday night.