Blue Jackets limp into season as injury sidelines Seth Jones 4-6 weeks

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Considering all of the uncertainty surrounding Blue Jackets stars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, it must be comforting for Columbus to at least know that they still deploy a dynamic defensive duo in Seth Jones and Zach Werenski.

Columbus was already aware that Werenski’s outlook was fuzzy. Back in May, the 21-year-old wunderkind underwent shoulder surgery. The Blue Jackets would be foolish to rush him back, but at least the latest updates seem broadly optimistic.

Worries about Jones’ health only cropped up recently, as the probable Norris candidate suffered a lower-body injury during Tuesday night’s preseason game. After John Tortorella said the defenseman will be out “a little while,” the Blue Jackets announced that he suffered a second degree MCL sprain of his right knee and will miss the next 4-6 weeks.

It’s more injury news for a team entering a big year.

While he’s not of the importance of a Jones or Werenski, 1st Ohio Battery also notes that Ryan Murray is banged-up. With Ian Cole and Jack Johnson no longer with the team (Cole being most effective, Johnson being more … drama-heavy), the Blue Jackets enter 2018-19 with a lot of uncertainty on the blueline.

Still, there’s a concern that both Werenski and Jones may deal with lingering issues. It can take a while to recover from surgery, whether it comes down to lingering soreness or merely a lack of confidence that you can avoid a re-injury. With certain lower-body injuries, a player might be able to soldier on, yet at the same time struggle through nagging discomfort. Could one or two of those great players lose that extra gear to take over games, even just for a portion of 2018-19?

Of course, both players could just shake off these concerns as if they’re nothing, continuing their dual ascents up the charts as star players.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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