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Horton cleared for contact, rebuilding strength

Dec 21, 2013, 12:17 PM EDT

Nathan Horton Getty Images

Nathan Horton isn’t ready to say when he’ll make his Columbus Blue Jackets debut or even call himself close to returning, but he’s made significant progress recently in his efforts to return from off-season shoulder surgery.

Horton was a full participant in Friday’s practice and no longer needs to wear a no-contact jersey, although his teammates weren’t eager to test his injury.

“It wasn’t physical but it was more than I had done,” Horton told the team’s website. “It’s still a little sore but it wasn’t sore before I went on the ice, but that will go away.

“The pain’s probably not going to go away for a long time, but as long as I get my strength and I’m comfortable with hitting people and getting hit, I’ll be fine.”

To that end, he’ll continue to practice regularly until his conditioning is where it needs to be.

When he does return, it will naturally be a big boost to the Blue Jackets. They inked him to a seven-year, $37.1 million contract over the summer in the hopes that he could be an offensive leader and the missing piece in their quest for an elusive postseason berth.

The Blue Jackets have managed to hold their own this season despite already suffering a number of major injuries, but they are behind the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers in the fight for the Metropolitan Division’s third and — given the overall weakness of the division — likely final playoff seed.

  1. jacketsfan7 - Dec 21, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Exactly the news I needed to hear , can’t wait to see him

  2. shaundre93 - Dec 21, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I think Horton would be great with Johansen. He needs a good possession / setup guy to be successful (Umberger – Johansen – Horton?). Don’t be afraid if he disappears for weeks at a time, he always shows up when it matters! Big shot, bigger heart. Aint afraid of anybody and WILL protect his teammates when necessary (pre injury at least). Columbus will be a much better team with Horty in the lineup

    • rrsm53 - Dec 23, 2013 at 8:06 AM

      Dont get your hopes up to high he is most definitely a spotty / streaky whatever you want to call him type of players. He played with Krecji one of the best centers in the league and he disappeared for games at a time. I agree thanks for what you gave us in Boston but only time will tell.

  3. terrier92 - Dec 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Best of luck kid. Thanks for all you did for Bruins

  4. jacketsfan7 - Dec 21, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Agreed , I’d love to him with my guy Joey and umby , what magic would happen

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