Clint Dempsey medically cleared to return to Sounders

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A medical scare sidelined Clint Dempsey for the Seattle Sounders’ first MLS Cup crown in 2016 but the U.S. Men’s National Team has returned to his club.

The 33-year-old was on the Sounders training field on Tuesday for the first time since September after Dempsey was discovered to have had an irregular heartbeat.

“He is healthy enough to train,” Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said. “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.”

Dempsey last appeared for the Sounders in their August 21 victory over rivals Portland Timbers. Despite missing the final month-plus of the regular season, Dempsey finished second on the Sounders in goals (8) while also adding two assists.

While Dempsey’s status for the start of the 2017 regular season is still undetermined the club remains confident that the veteran forward is making positive strides towards a return.

“The doctors have said it’s OK for him to train,” Lagerwey said. “We’ll continue to check in with them as we continue to progress him back. He’s a veteran player. He hasn’t played a competitive match in six months. There are real fitness concerns around him getting back into form and sharpness and doing so in a healthy manner. That’s what we’re going to be monitoring.”

Dempsey was recently left off Bruce Arena’s first USMNT roster since returning as the country’s manager. The U.S. will resume CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in March when the Yanks take on Honduras and Panama four days apart.

(Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)