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Jay DeMerit misses another Whitecaps preseason match

Feb 18, 2013, 2:38 PM EDT

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At what point does Jay DeMerit’s ongoing heel issues move into a higher level of concern for Vancouver Whitecaps fans?

We can talk a lot about Darren Mattocks’ seemingly unlimited potential, about other attacking options at BC Place for manager Martin Rennie, about new personnel and returning personnel and how it all fits for a Pacific Northwest club that wants to rival Seattle’s accomplishments while staying ahead of a Portland club that lost its way last season.

But it’s possible that none of that will matter if the team’s captain, defensive leader and emotional heart and soul cannot keep himself healthy. This team needs DeMerit.

What looked like a fairly benign ailment, a sore Achilles, has kept the former U.S. international off the field since Feb. 2.

DeMerit was on the sidelines once again Sunday as the Whitecaps beat the College of Charleston, 2-0.

Will the All-Star center back be ready for Vancouver’s March 2 opener against Canadian rival Toronto FC? It’s a good question, but it’s not the main point.

Rather, the concern should be over DeMerit’s long-term health.  He’s 33. He’s been a little injury prone in recent years. And heel issues tend to be something that, once you have them, never quite seem to go away.

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