The back injury that has sidelined the Columbus Blue Jackets winger since April could be a career-ender, sources told The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline.
“The Blue Jackets aren’t ready to move on without injured right wing Nathan Horton yet,” Portzline wrote Tuesday. “But optimism is fading that Horton will be able to play this season, and there’s growing concern that the 29-year-old’s career might be finished.”
Horton has been diagnosed with “‘degeneration’ of the entire lumbar region of his spine,” per Portzline’s sources.
“Surgery has not been scheduled or ruled out,” Portzline wrote, “but it is viewed as a last resort, sources said. It’s a delicate procedure, with no guarantee of relief.”
Horton, who played a key role on the 2010-11 Boston Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup, has played in just 36 games since signing a seven-year, $37.1 million contract with the Blue Jackets last offseason. His back pain reportedly became “significantly worse” this summer.
“Nathan is a frustrated kid right now,” Horton’s agent, Paul Krepelka, told the Dispatch. “This is normally a really easygoing guy, a happy guy, but he’s just so frustrated by all of this.
“He signed with Columbus to make an impact, to play a big role on a team that’s on the rise. He was so excited about doing it. The fact that he hasn’t been able to make any meaningful contributions is just extremely frustrating to him.”
Horton tallied 56 goals and 51 assists in three seasons with the Bruins.
Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images
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