Clint Dempsey returns to training after irregular heartbeat absence

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Clint Dempsey is back on the field with the Seattle Sounders, returning for a training session with Major League Soccer outfit on Wednesday. The American had been sidelined since Aug. 26 as he underwent evaluations following the discovery of an irregular heartbeat.

Dempsey missed multiple contests for both the Sounders and the U.S. men's national team while on the shelf, including a rivalry bout against the Portland Timbers and a round of World Cup qualifying. Without Deuce in the fold, the Sounders drew the Houston Dynamo and the San Jose Earthquakes, and lost their match against Portland. The U.S. fared fine in qualifying without their second all-time leading scorer, earning easy victories against Trinidad and Tobago and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey addressed the media with updates on Dempsey after the training session was over, saying the team would exercise caution with the 33-year-old.

“He has had a procedure to address some of the issues [of his irregular heartbeat],” he told reporters, via Sounders Beat. “Dempsey has been cleared to return to training, to exercise, but he's not been medically cleared to play yet. No timetable.

“We have protocol to bring him back and allow him to begin exercising in a safe manner and we'll follow it constantly. When you have a serious medical issue like this, you don't want to put false pressure on a return,” Lagerway said.

The Sounders GM did say that the Sounders are “cautiously optimistic” about Dempsey returning this season.

If Dempsey does make a full recovery, the Sounders will count on him to help with their final push for the playoffs, and possibly beyond. As it stands, Seattle sit six points outside of the playoff pace with seven matches to play. Their next match is against Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

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