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Nathan Horton takes next step in shoulder rehab with Blue Jackets

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

More NHL: Scores | Standings | League Leaders | Odds | Injuries | Power Rankings

The Columbus Blue Jackets had raised expectations coming into this season in part because of their big offseason signing of former Bruins forward Nathan Horton . Only problem is his debut with the team is still pending due to shoulder surgery in the offseason to fix an issue lingering from his Boston days.

The good news is that Horton is on the mend right on schedule. He has been skating with Blue Jackets staff (via Jackets site) for a little while now as part of his rehab. While he's only going at partial speed in the video above, his shoulder doesn't seem to be much of an issue on the shots he fires but that doesn't mean he's ready to jump into the lineup yet.

There remains no clear timetable for a return for Horton but when he had surgery in July it was said it would be 4-6 months. With the calender showing late November, this is at the start of that initial time frame for a return.

It has been rough for the Blue Jackets without Horton. They have started the season 7-10-3 and are just one point ahead of the Flyers at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division. But because it's the Metro, they are also just three points from third place and the playoff spot that accompanies it.

Making matters worse has been the fact that other star winger Marian Gaborik was recently injured, leaving the Jackets without either of their important wingers. While that might make it more tempting to get Horton back as quickly as possible, there's no reason to push the pace and risk complications. Just know the cavalry is on the way.

Horton had 13 goals and nine assists in a shortened and down regular season for Boston but had a huge postseason with seven goals and 12 assists in 22 games. Over the summer Horton signed a seven-year, $37.1 million contract in Columbus.

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