Blue Jackets right winger Cam Atkinson returned to practice yesterday, ensuring that coach Todd Richards will have a full complement of players to use tonight against the Nashville Predators.

Atkinson was the only player to miss any significant ice time during the Blue Jackets' six-day training camp. He suffered a minor lower-body injury, did not practice with the team on Wednesday and skated on his own on Thursday.

"To go through all season in Springfield healthy and then have a tweak in practice here, it kind of sets you back, but it's getting better every day," said Atkinson, who is expected to begin the season skating on the top line with R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard after scoring 17 goals in 33 games in the American Hockey League.

Richards said the Blue Jackets were fortunate to get through a truncated training camp with no serious injuries. Eight of 23 Blue Jackets did not play elsewhere during the lockout, and several that did played a limited number of games.

"I think guys did a pretty good job keeping themselves in shape," Umberger said. "From the offseason on, it was 'be ready for camp.' Luck played a part, too."

The Blue Jackets are unlikely to remain so healthy in a season in which they will play 48 games in 99 days. They play four games next week.

"It's going to be a juggling act," Richards said.