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Toronto's Dunfield hopes surgery solved injury issues

TORONTO – After offseason hernia surgery, Terry Dunfield hopes 2012 comes and goes without the injury problems he experienced last year.

The Canadian international midfielder was hampered by a groin strain he suffered in 2011 while he was with the Vancouver Whitecaps, and continued to be limited by it following the mid-July trade that sent him to Toronto FC. He also was with Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, putting some significant wear and tear on his body.

“I played a lot of football at the beginning of the season [and had] sort of groin issues and hernia problems,” Dunfield said last week, "and fortunately, the medical staff here in Toronto were fantastic and were able to get me through to the end of the season."

He had hernia surgery in Germany in December and hopes to be ready for TFC’s games in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 25 to March 1.

“I’m joining in in preseason and everything is fine,” Dunfield said. “And touch wood, I’ll be fit to go for our Orlando games.”

Much of that has optimism has to do with his perception of the operation he underwent in Germany.

“It’s amazing what they can do. You’re in and out in a couple of days,” he said. “I was lucky I was able to go there and hopefully it will give me a little more on the field as well.”

Dunfield joined Toronto as part of the midseason overhaul that provided some improved second-half results and some consistency in the squad heading into this season.

“I think there is a core of a group of players they kept from last season, not only good on the field but good off the field,” Dunfield said. “Everything so far this preseason has been quite settled. I think that’s important. We’re not going a 100 miles an hour.”

The Reds first test will be a daunting one, as they play the home leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against the LA Galaxy at Rogers Centre on March 7.

“I’m sure the place will be rocking,” Dunfield said.

As to where he fits in with the team this year, he said he just wants to be prepared for any opportunity that comes his way.

“Like everybody else I want to be in the starting XI," he said. "If I’m not playing, I’ll be pushing the others all the way. And when my opportunity does come – it’s a long season – I’ll make sure I’m ready.”