from Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers,
The Blue Jackets aren’t ready to move on without injured right wing Nathan Horton yet.
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, who signed a seven-year, $37.1 million free-agent contract with the Blue Jackets in the summer of 2013, has been diagnosed with “degeneration” of the entire lumbar region of his spine, or the lower back, sources told The Dispatch.
Surgery has not been scheduled or ruled out, but it is viewed as a last resort, sources said. It’s a delicate procedure, with no guarantee of relief.
“Nathan is a frustrated kid right now,” said his agent, Paul Krepelka. “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.”