"We are cautiously optimistic that he could return to play this season," Lagerwey said of the veteran forward, who has been undergoing evaluations on an irregular heartbeat.

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Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey spoke to local media following Wednesday morning’s practice session at Starfire Sports, Clint Dempsey’s first since undergoing evaluations on an irregular heartbeat.

“He has had a procedure to address some of the issues associated with that,” Lagerwey said. “We are not at liberty to disclose anything further from a medical perspective. I will add that we are cautiously optimistic that he could return to play this season.

“When you have a medical condition like this, you don’t want to put false pressure on a return. You can’t just say, ‘Clint’s important to us.’ You have to mean it. And if you mean it, then Clint’s health comes first and there is no timetable. You have to wait and see if and when Clint is healthy and ready to return.”