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Nathan Horton ‘definitely’ could have started season in October

01.10.13 at 11:56 am ET
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Nathan Horton

WILMINGTON — After skating with his teammates for the first time since suffering a concussion last January, Bruins forward Nathan Horton he is 100-percent healthy and ready to go about business as usual throughout the upcoming training camp and 48-game season. His teammates certainly like what they saw on Thursday.

“He’s huge, eh?” Tyler Seguin quipped when asked about the power forward.

Indeed, the Bruins missed Horton’s services since he suffered his second concussion in as many seasons on a Jan. 22 hit from Flyers forward Tom Sestito. Teamed with Milan Lucic, Horton helped give the Bruins first line a bruising duo with a scoring threat, but head injuries have cost him time in the Bruins’ lineup.

Horton began skating by himself after suffering the concussion on the Sestito hit but had a setback and was eventually shut down before the playoffs last season. He said after Thursday’s informal practice with teammates that things have gone smoothly since.

“Near the end of the [season] I was starting to feel better, but all summer I never had any issues with all my running and skating,” Horton said. “I never had a setback, and I feel great. I’m pretty happy about that. It’s a tough thing to go through, but it’s in the past now and I’m looking forward to getting back and being around the guys yet and having some fun.”

Horton spent the lockout skating and working out in Florida. He chose against pursuing European options during the work stoppage, though he said he would have been healthy to start the season in October had it began on time.

“Oh definitely,” Horton said. “I was 100 percent back then. It seems so long ago, but more time obviously helped me. I was fine back then [though].”

A free agent at season’s end, Horton also suffered a concussion in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals on a hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. He had played an integral role in the Bruins’ run to the finals up until that hit, as he scored two game-winning goals in overtime in the first round against the Canadiens (including the series-clincher in Game 7) and scored one of the biggest goals in team history by tallying the only score in the Bruins’ 1-0 victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.

That postseason remains Horton’s only taste of the playoffs, as he never saw the postseason in Florida and missed last year’s first-round exit against the Capitals, something that weighed on him.

“I got one shot of it [in 2011],” he said when asked about missing last season’s playoffs. “You get one taste and you just want to keep going. I didn’t get to do that and it’s pretty disappointing. It was a tough year for me, and I’m just happy to be back. I want to start off right here and keep moving forward.”

Despite now having a history of head injuries, Horton said he isn’t planning on changing his approach at all.

“The truth is I really haven’t even thought about it,” he said. “I’m not even worried about my head, I’m not worried about being in contact or getting in a fight or anything like that. It’s really in the back of my [mind]. I’m looking to the future and I haven’t thought about it. I feel better than I have in a long, long time and that’s it. I’m just happy that I feel good and it’s not even on my mind.”

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