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Portland, Ore. • There's an explanation for the absence of The Captain.

Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar said Wednesday that RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman will be held out of on-field activities due to a bone bruise in his left knee. Beckerman, 34, suffered the injury in the first portion of RSL's 2017 preseason rounds in Arizona. He is considered day-to-day, Cassar confirmed.

"I think Kyle's in a really good spot, and [when] I had a great meeting with him I told him that, all I want him to do is on March 4 have his body feeling great," Cassar said after a training session Wednesday in downtown Portland. "That's it. That's the goal. Obviously he's going to keep on continuing to be a leader, but if he can be out on the field, Game 1, with no pain, that's success."

Cassar said the club recently received clarity on the injury, and it turns out it's one that Beckerman dealt with at times in 2016. Beckerman will not play or train until the pain subsides, according to Cassar.

"Once we get to that point," Cassar said, "we're good."

Beckerman has been going through fitness sessions in a swimming pool and lifting weights. The first two days in Portland are the only two the RSL staple has missed this season. He did not feature in any of the preseason matches in Casa Grande, Ariz., or later in Tucson. Beckerman will not play in RSL's preseason match against the Portland Timbers on Thursday night in Providence Park.

"Listen, if we were playing in the season, he would be playing," Cassar said. "We're getting smarter, and Kyle's smart. This isn't about a game against Portland, it's about getting ready for the season."

Beckerman set the MLS record for most minutes played by an outfield player in 2016. The defensive midfielder has played 36,205 minutes in his 17 seasons in the league. The RSL captain also holds the record for most appearances in MLS history with 434 — 404 of which are starts. Beckerman started 27 matches last season.

RSL opens the 2017 season at home March 4 against Toronto FC at Rio Tinto Stadium.

—Chris Kamrani

Twitter: @chriskamrani