Clint Dempsey has been medically cleared to return to Seattle Sounders training after spending a number of months on the sidelines while being treated for an irregular heartbeat.
According to the Seattle Times, Dempsey participated in morning drills with the MLS Cup champion Sounders, who opened preseason training camp. The Times reports that Dempsey is not yet ready for game action, but he could take part in preseason matches. Dempsey has been out of action since the end of August, when the Sounders first disclosed his condition, and he was officially ruled out for the season a month later. In his last match, he scored two goals in a win over the rival Portland Timbers.
“He is healthy enough to train,” Lagerwey told the Times. “That has been determined. But as I said, we’ve still got some milestones to hit along the way as we continue to progress with him. I don’t want to set any expectations, because we either will hit them or we won’t. We aren’t prepared to put any more structure on it than that.”
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Manager Brian Schmetzer and captain Osvaldo Alonso raise the MLS Cup trophy.
Playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro greets a Sounders fan during the club's parade.
Sounders fans line the streets with signs and plenty of club gear, awaiting the arrival of their title-winning team.
Alvaro Fernandez, Osvaldo Alonso and Roman Torres salute the fans from their trolley.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who won MLS Cup MVP honors in part for his remarkable save on Jozy Altidore, rides the trolley during the parade route.
Manager Brian Schmetzer poses with a fan before the title rally.
Depending on how his return to action develops, Dempsey could be cleared and fit for the USA's World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama in late March.
With 52 goals, Dempsey trails Landon Donovan by five goals for the U.S. men's national team's all-time scoring mark.