Tobin Heath returns to the Thorns after ankle surgery

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Tobin Heath came in off the bench Friday night for the Portland Thorns’ match against the Washington Spirit, making her first appearance of the season.

Heath had minor ankle surgery in January and missed Portland’s first three matches of the National Women’s Soccer League Season. The procedure removed a bone growth from her right ankle.

The midfielder also missed January training came with the U.S. Women’s national team, as well as the SheBelieves Cup tournament and a pair of recent exhibition matches against Mexico.

Heath injured her ankle in last season’s NWSL title match between the Thorns and the North Carolina Courage in October. Portland won 1-0 for its second overall league title.

She entered Friday match in the 60th minute . The Thorns played to a 1-1 tied with the Spirit.

“Obviously the result, we would have wanted to be better, but just for me personally, it was great to get back out on the pitch and get that over with,” she said.

Heath was on the national team that won the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. The United States, ranked No. 1 in the world, is preparing to defend its title next year in France.

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“She’s worked incredibly hard to get back,” Thorns coach Mark Parsons said. “I think we’re all just so happy she’s back where she belongs, on the soccer pitch and having fun.”.

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