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The Nathan Horton injury story: shoulder, may or may not play Sat, may or may not require surgery

Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton left Wednesday night's Bruins-Blackhawks game in the first overtime due to what Bruins coach Claude Julien suggested was an, "Upper-body injury," but the Boston Bruins' beat writers believe that Horton aggravated a "subluxated" shoulder originally caused by an ill-timed fight with Jarome Iginla on April 20th.

The Boston Herald's Stephen Harris believes as much...

Horton’s injury first occurred April 20 when he fought Pittsburgh’s Jarome Iginla at the Garden. Iginla hung on Horton’s left arm and yanked him awkwardly down to the ice. Horton missed the final six regular season games.

He returned for the start of the playoffs and has played tremendously well alongside linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Horton has 7-11-18 totals, three game-winning goals and a league-leading plus-22.

But midway through the first overtime Wednesday, he had a seemingly minor bump from Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, left the game and did not return.

Folks who’ve had shoulder dislocation or subluxation injuries — said to be terribly painful — know how easily a previously damaged joint can pop out again. That is believed to be what happened in Game 1.

Surgery is often required to fix the joint, but if this is Horton’s problem, a brace and/or pain-killing shot might allow him to play. It’d be hard to imagine him being 100 percent, but the B’s would be glad to have him even at reduced effectiveness.

As does Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty...

Horton was believed to have been playing through pain for the entire playoffs after suffering an injury during his regular season fight with Pittsburgh's Jarome Iginla on April 20. He appeared to tweak it in a big way while pushing for position with Hjalmarsson, the big-bodied Blackhawks defenseman.

Horton missed the final five games of the regular season because of the injury, but was ready to go at the start of the playoffs.

It’s amazing that Horton was as effective as he was in the postseason, leading all NHL players with a plus-22 rating in the playoffs and 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 17 games.

...

There’s hope that the winger can somehow get back in the lineup at some point during the Stanley Cup Finals. But it’s obvious to everybody now that Horton is playing through a serious amount of pain, and indications given to CSNNE.com are that it’s a situation that will require surgery after the season is finished.

More evidence that Horton was playing through some pretty obvious discomfort: He had one of the lowest registered hit totals on the Bruins with 22 hits in 17 playoff games this spring.

Horton has had a history of upper-body problems dating back to surgeries required at the end of his first pro hockey seasons with the Florida Panthers to repair a subluxating left shoulder.

ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald...

Horton missed the last five games of the regular season after sustaining an upper-body injury in a fight with Penguins forward Jarome Iginla on April 20. Horton returned for Game 1 of the first-round series against the Maple Leafs. According to a WEEI.com report citing a source close to Horton, he has been taking injections before playoff games to deal with a left shoulder injury sustained in the Iginla altercation and aggravated the lingering ailment in Wednesday's Game 1.

Horton struggled during the regular season, but he's been an offensive force in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Losing his services will be detrimental to the Bruins because the team's top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Horton has combined for 57 points this postseason. Individually, Horton has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 17 games, including a plus-22 rating. He's also averaging close to 20 minutes of ice time per game.

"He's been big for us," said Bruins president Cam Neely. "He's come up with big goals in the playoffs that he's played here for us. He's a great linemate for [Lucic] and [Krejci] and he's done everything we've asked of him and more."

...

The best-case scenario for the Bruins? The two days off between games allow Horton to heal enough to be ready for Game 2. This team needs his production in order to be successful.

And WEEI's DJ Bean, who says that the unrestricted free agent-to-be does NOT need surgery ("sources" can contradict each other of course):

According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Nathan Horton has been dealing with chronic left shoulder subluxation, which caused him to leave Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals during the first overtime. The injury was originally suffered when Horton fought Penguins forward Jarome Iginla on April 20, with Horton missing the final five games of the regular season before returning for the playoffs.

Horton has received shots prior to each game to deal with the pain, and though his shoulder has popped out of its socket at points during the playoffs, Wednesday’s occurrence, when he bumped into Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in front of the Chicago net on a Bruins power play, was the most painful thus fair. His shoulder was popped back in after he left the ice, but he was in too much pain to return to the game.

The injury will not require surgery until the offseason, when he is likely to receive a procedure to tighten the socket so the shoulder stops popping out. It is unknown whether Horton will play in Game 2 on Saturday, with the team labeling him “day-to-day,” though he would not have been able to play had the Bruins had a game on Thursday.

Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski tracked down video of the fight:

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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