They're holding their breath in Carolina.

In the second period of Thursday night's matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, defenceman Dougie Hamilton left the game in the second period with an apparent leg injury and did not return.

Hamilton got caught up with Columbus' Kevin Stelund and his leg bent awkwardly under him as he fell to the ice and into the boards. The update was grim from head coach Rod Brind'Amour after the game.

"It doesn't look good, obviously," he told reporters.

"He's our All Star. It shook everybody up seeing that happen. It’s the cliché hockey next-man-up type thing, but that’s a lot of big minutes to find. Guys will have to step up, and hopefully we can get him back sooner rather than later," teammate Jordan Martinook said.

Hamilton needed help to get off the ice and went back to the dressing room right away, seemingly unable to put any weight on his left leg. He was later ruled out for the night because of a lower-body injury and had zero points in 14:14 of ice time prior to his departure. 

Columbus went on to win the game 3-2.

In 46 games so far this season, the blueliner has 14 goals and 26 assists for a total of 40 points. 

This is the 26-year-old's second season in Carolina after coming over in a trade with the Calgary Flames.

Following their loss to the Blue Jackets, Carolina will be back in action Friday night as they host the Anaheim Ducks.