Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard bruised his right knee in the first period of the Red Wings' game against the Blue Jackets and was helped off the ice.
A team spokesman said Howard had X-rays at Nationwide Arena and they came back negative.
Coach Mike Babcock said after the Blue Jackets' 3-2 victory in a shootout that he doubted if Howard would be able to play when the teams meet again Saturday night in Detroit.
''He's not available, so he won't be able to go tomorrow,'' said Babcock, who indicated the team might need to call up a goalie from the minors as an emergency backup.
Howard was untouched by another player as he blocked a shot by the Blue Jackets' Derick Brassard with 7:17 left in the opening period Friday night. The goalie leaned down with his blocker, his legs tucked under him, and fell to the ice. He lay there for several minutes before he was gingerly helped to the dressing room.
The 26-year-old Howard came into the game with a 22-7-3 record, two shutouts, a 2.78 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
He was replaced by third-stringer Joey MacDonald. Backup Chris Osgood is already sidelined by a hernia.
Columbus led 2-0 at the time of the injury and led by that same score at the end of the period.