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Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe nears return from groin strain

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TORONTO - Jermain Defoe appears to be set to return from injury when Toronto FC visits Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

Defoe, who has missed the previous two games with a groin strain, is the team's leading scorer with 11 goals in 15 games.

"We may have Jermain back, but again we don't want to push him too much," said coach Ryan Nelsen. "(Defoe's) status is that it's looking positive, it's looking really good, so yeah he might be available."

When asked, the striker would not confirm his status for Saturday's match.

If he does return, it'll be welcome news for the Reds, who are struggling with the flu. Defender Doneil Henry was among those who did not participate in training Thursday due to illness.

Defoe missed the team's 2-0 win in Montreal and 3-2 win in Columbus this month due to the injury, which was initially believed to be a sports hernia. He also missed the MLS All-Star game last week.

It was announced on Aug. 4 that Defoe had suffered a groin strain, which was expected to keep him out of the lineup for two to three weeks. Saturday would be Day 12 since the announcement.

The 31-year-old also missed Toronto's 2-1 loss at home to Sporting KC (11-6-6) on July 26 serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.

Toronto (9-7-5) will be without defender Mark Bloom (MCL strain) and captain Steven Caldwell (quad) for Saturday's game, which concludes a stretch of four consecutive road games.

Nelsen said the defenders could be available when Toronto return home for a match with the Chicago Fire next Saturday.

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