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Sophia Smith returns to training with Portland Thorns

(Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports)

Sophia Smith is nearing her return from injury, with the U.S. women’s national team star back in training with the Portland Thorns.

While Smith is working her way back from a mild MCL sprain she sustained in August, she will remain out Saturday against the San Diego Wave.

“Soph has started some on-field, individual work,” Thorns head coach Mike Norris told The Oregonian on Thursday. “She hasn’t been in any sort of team or opposed work. She is making good progress and taking steps. One step at a time. She will not be available this weekend, but it’s nice to have her back on the field in some capacity.”

The 23-year-old forward has not played since Aug. 28, when she injured her right knee against the Washington Spirit. She has missed two NWSL games since then, as well as two USWNT friendlies. Now she will miss one more match for the Thorns, but she still leads the NWSL with 11 goals and ranks second in the league with five assists.

On Thursday, Smith reportedly went through warmups and ball drills before running lengths of the field toward the end of the session.