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Becky Sauerbrunn eyes return from pre-World Cup injury for Thorns

(Michael Thomas Shroyer/USA TODAY Sports)

Becky Sauerbrunn is close to making her return for the Portland Thorns.

Thorns coach Mike Norris gave an update Thursday on the 38-year-old defender, as well as World Cup players Hina Sugita and Crystal Dunn, noting that “they’re all making progress.”

Dunn and Sugita both appeared in the Thorns’ most recent match, a 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit on Aug. 27 as they work their way back from their World Cup runs. Dunn, a starting defender for the USWNT, played 19 minutes, while Japan’s Sugita played 30 minutes.

Sauerbrunn, though, hasn’t played since June 3. Her foot injury kept the longtime captain off the USWNT’s World Cup roster. Given Sauerbrunn’s uncertain timeline and availablity, head coach Vlatko Andonovski decided against bringing her to the tournament.

“And so I think it was always in the back of my head that this was a possibility,” she said on Snacks. “But until Vlatko called, I was holding out like 10% hope that I was going to make it.”

Still, a return for this NWSL season remained on the table, and it could come as soon as this weekend. She’s been back practicing, with Norris saying that getting her “back involved has been huge.”

“It’s day by day there in terms of how she’s responded to being back in the roster and how she travels and how she’s trained,” he continued. “But all three should be available this weekend.”