Nathan Horton practices for the first time as a Blue Jacket

Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 7:00 AM / News
By Ryan Dittrick  - Special to BlueJackets.com



EDMONTON - The Blue Jackets had a surprise participant at Monday afternoon’s optional practice at Rexall Place.

Four months after undergoing surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder, Nathan Horton was back on the ice, skating in full gear alongside his teammates for the first time.

“It was great,” Horton said, sporting a grin the size of West Edmonton Mall. “I’ve been skating a little bit these past few days, but it’s nice to be back out there with the guys.”

Horton is still experiencing a fair bit of pain, but the recovery process—while lengthy—is going well. He had the surgery back on July 17 and was told he would be out of commission for up to six months.

AUDIO: Horton speaks to the media after practice

With that in mind, Horton could be ready to go at some point in early to mid-December.

“I hope I’m back then, but I’m still feeling a bit of pain and don’t have my full range of motion yet,” he said. “I don't know when [the pain] is going to go away. I wake up every morning, hoping, but it’s still sore.

“It’s taking a long time, but I knew that coming in. It’s been tough having to watch. I still have a lot of fun at the rink, but it's always more fun when you're on the ice.” 

The 6-foot-2, 229-pound forward skated for nearly an hour, dedicating much of the practice to footwork, stickhandling and rapid-fire target practice with assistant coach Dan Hinote. 

Horton still hasn’t been cleared for any significant weight training, but small, lightweight dumbbells are now a part of his daily routine. Once the pain dissipates and he can begin scheduling more intense upper-body workouts, he’ll have a better idea of when he’ll be eligible to return.

For now, there’s absolutely no rush. Horton has suffered through shoulder injuries before (torn rotator cuff, torn labrum and dislocated bicep tendon) and has little interest in having this latest battle develop into a chronic issue.

“If I don't feel 100 percent, there's no point (in rushing/coming back),” Horton said. “I don't ever want it to happen again. I want to get it right so I can come back, help out and be around the guys.

After spending the past three seasons with the Boston Bruins, Horton,28, signed a seven-year, $37 million contract with the Blue Jackets back on July 5.

The winger’s debut has been on hold ever since, but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm.

“We've had a couple tough games this season, but we have a good team and we're only going to get better,” Horton said. “I love watching them and I love being around them. They're all great guys and that's all you can ask for as a teammate.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Johnson 1 1 1 0 2
D. MacKenzie 1 1 0 0 1
M. Letestu 1 1 0 1 1
B. Dubinsky 1 0 1 1 1
B. Jenner 1 0 1 -1 1
F. Tyutin 1 0 0 -1 0
J. Wisniewski 1 0 0 0 0
B. Comeau 1 0 0 -1 0
N. Nikitin 1 0 0 0 0
J. Skille 1 0 0 -1 0
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 0 1 0 .875 4.07
 
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