Clint Dempsey Medically Cleared After Missing Time with Irregular Heartbeat

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2017

ORLANDO, FL - August 07: Clint Dempsey # 2 looks on after scoring a brace in the first half for the Seattle Sounders vs the Orlando City Lions at Citrus Bowl on August 07, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Zachary Scheffer/Getty Images)
Zachary Scheffer/Overflow Productions, Inc./Getty Images

Clint Dempsey confirmed Tuesday he's medically cleared to play for the Seattle Sounders ahead of the 2017 Major League Soccer season, the New York Times' Matt Pentz reported. 

"I don't want to go that much into it," Dempsey said of the situation. "I'm cleared to play. I've taken the proper time out that I needed to be out for what was going on, and I'm feeling good now."

The Sounders announced in September the 33-year-old would miss the rest of the 2016 campaign after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. As a result, he missed the team's run to its first MLS Cup victory. Seattle beat Toronto FC on penalties in December.

Dempsey appeared in the Sounders' Feb. 4 preseason friendly with the Portland Timbers. He started and played 30 minutes before exiting.

Before Dempsey's diagnosis, the arrival of Nicolas Lodeiro helped alleviate some of the attacking burden on Dempsey. Lodeiro, who scored four goals and registered eight assists in 13 games, should be even better in his first full year with Seattle.

The Sounders will still need Dempsey to play a key role in their MLS title defense, though, so the fact he's cleared to resume match duty is a nice boost ahead of the club's season opener against the Houston Dynamo on March 4.

Seattle will have three more friendlies before then to allow Dempsey to ease back into his usual starting role.

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