Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton has a degenerative back condition and it is unknown when he will return to action, The Columbus Dispatch reported Thursday.
"He is suffering," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told the newspaper.
The GM said Horton will attempt to overcome the condition without surgery.
"It's about getting stronger and managing the pain by getting stronger in the core," Kekalainen told reporter Shawn Mitchell. "Then your back gets stronger and the pain will go away. [He] is the only person that really knows where he is at and how much pain there is involved. It's impossible for anybody else to know what he is going through right now."
Horton, 29, signed a seven-year, $37.1 million contract in July 2013. He had four goals and 14 assists last season, when he was limited to 35 games because of shoulder and abdominal injuries. Abdominal surgery in April kept him out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Defenseman Ryan Murray will not play against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday in preseason game four.
The Dispatch said Murray, recovering from offseason knee surgery, skated in full gear "for the first time in a very long time."