Report: Nathan Horton deciding on career-ending back surgery

By Ryan Hannable on November 13, 2014 at 8:58 am ET
Nathan Horton is deciding on career-ending back surgery. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Nathan Horton is deciding on career-ending back surgery. (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Things are not going well for former Bruins forward Nathan Horton. The current Blue Jackets forward hasn’t played in an NHL game since last April because of a degenerative back injury.

Thursday, Horton spoke via the Columbus Dispatch about the condition for the first time.

“I can’€™t stand up like a normal person, I can’€™t bend over,”€ Horton said. “€œI can’€™t run. I can’€™t play with my kids. To get in and out of the car, I’€™m like a 75-year-old man … so slow and stiff. I can’€™t sleep at night. I try to lay down and my back seizes up and I can’€™t move, so sleeping is out. I’€™m like a zombie in the daytime.”

The only way to get rid of the pain would be surgery, “likely a three-or four-level spinal fusion with a titanium rod,” the paper said. The surgery would end his career. Horton is only 29-years-old.

“I don’€™t want to have surgery, because of what that means,” Horton said. “I don’€™t want to live with this pain, but I don’€™t want to make that decision. It’€™s hard for me to say that, at 29 years old, I’€™m done. I mean, really? Done at 29?”

The back was never an issue during his time in Boston, but recovering from shoulder surgery last fall was when Horton started feeling pain in his back.

“It just hit me,”€ Horton said. “There I was working on my shoulder, while my back started getting worse and worse.”

“€œI couldn’€™t get my socks on,” Horton added. “I could barely tie my skates. But I’€™ve played through stuff my whole career. I kept going.”

Horton needed groin surgery last April, ending his season after just 36 games, but the back was still an issue.

“After I rehabbed the groin, my back flared again, and it has not gone away,”€ Horton said. “I went back to Florida in the spring [May] to rehab it, and I went for an easy jog –€” just 25 minutes ‘€” to get back into it. The next couple of days, I couldn’€™t move. And here we are. I couldn’€™t jog right now if I wanted to.”

Horton, who has played 10 seasons in the NHL, spent three seasons (2010-13) with the Bruins, scoring 51 total goals and won the 2011 Stanley Cup.