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Optimistic Mike Magee working back into shape for Fire

The year 2014 was a bad one for the Fire. It certainly wasn’t great for Mike Magee, and he’s glad last year’s in the past.

“It was a bad year all around. Everyone knows that. We beat it to death talking about it but it’s refreshing now to see a lot of new faces and good guys,” Magee said. “We’ve brought in a group of guys that wanted to be here. A new level of talent with a couple guys that we haven’t had. For as long as I can remember since I’ve been here it’s just nice walking in and seeing the guys and the competitiveness seems great. This year’s already better than last year.”

Magee, who’s taken part in Fire practice the last two days, said he’s well ahead of schedule in his recovery from a September hip surgery that ended his 2014 season. Magee, who also had a partially torn meniscus and scar tissue from another knee injury cleaned up, said he doesn’t have a target for his return and that it’s important for him to come back when he’s 100 percent healthy.

“I don’t think it does anyone any favors if I try to go out there not strong or not fit,” Magee said. “We’re going to keep rehabbing and kind of take it day-by-day at this point.”

Of course, that can be difficult for Magee. But that desire to come back the right way has helped to keep him grounded.

“It’s always hard to stay patient,” Magee said. “Missing the England trip obviously hurt. I think that’s kind of when I plateaued a little bit. I’m a pretty motivated person so it hasn’t been much of an issue. I think I was carrying the injury for so long that the idea of getting right and playing at 100 percent healthy, that’s the part that’s helped me slow down a bit.”

On Wednesday, Magee was a neutral during the team drills. He wasn’t touched during the games but was an active participant, something Frank Yallop has been glad to see.

“He’s a good character and he had his issues last year with the injury so we got rid of them,” Yallop said. “Hopefully clears up and he comes back really flying, which he can do for sure.”

And after hearing him talk about the Fire’s offseason, the acquisition of Shaun Maloney and the growth of the younger players, it doesn’t take much to see that Magee is optimistic.

“How can you not be?” Magee said.

NOTES: Maloney and David Accam are expected to be with the Fire in Portland after sorting out their immigration situations. Jeff Larentowicz was absent Wednesday because of collective bargaining sessions, and Sean Johnson was off to rest after his recent stint with the national team. Alou Diarra is no longer training with the Fire.