TUKWILA, Wash. — Clint Dempsey did not participate in Seattle Sounders training on Tuesday after injuring his hamstring last week and won’t return any earlier than Friday.
Dempsey missed last Saturday’s 1-1 tie with the LA Galaxy, but Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid at least held out some hope that the US national team captain would be available in some capacity for Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with the New York Red Bulls.
“He’s OK, he’s doing much better,” Schmid said. “We’ll see how he comes along and see how he reacts in these next few days.”
Although the injury apparently flared up when he was with the Sounders, it’s unclear when he picked it up exactly. Dempsey has played just 29 minutes in Seattle’s last four matches after missing two games while he was on international duty.
“He didn’t do that much with us,” Schmid said. “Obviously it’s something that, either from the wear and tear of the national team, playing those games in rapid succession, maybe coming back and taking a wrong step at training. It’s hard to tell.”
There is also some concern over Eddie Johnson’s health. The forward scored his eighth goal of the season in the Galaxy match, but also took a hard fall. He stayed in the game and came out for the early part of training on Tuesday, but was excused and will get an X-ray as a precaution.
“We just didn’t want him in any contact today,” Schmid said.
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There was some positive injury news, as well. Brad Evans came through his 14-minute performance vs. LA just fine and Steve Zakuani was deemed fit enough to make his first appearance on the gameday roster in about five months.
"When you get injured, you kinda take a backseat because you get in early, you miss out hanging with the guys, you’re doing your own treatment, you’re in the gym, you miss training," Evans said. "You get those feelings that you just want to be out there. Once you are, it’s just a great feeling, especially when the team is playing as well as we are.
“We’re getting close to 100 percent healthy. I think it will still be a week or two before we find ourselves with that choice lineup," Evans added. "But until then guys are going to plug in and obviously guys have done well.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com.