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Defender Umtiti fit for Barcelona after 7 weeks out injured

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti has been cleared to play after recovering from a leg injury that sidelined him for seven weeks.

Umtiti hasn't played since damaging a muscle in his right thigh during a 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Dec. 2.

Barcelona, however, hasn't missed the 24-year-old French center back, who had become the first-choice partner for Gerard Pique since arriving 1 + years ago.

Thomas Vermaelen has played well in his place, helping the team to maintain its commanding lead of the Spanish league. Barcelona currently has an eight-point lead.

Umtiti has been included in the squad for Barcelona's game at Real Betis on Sunday.

Updated January 20, 2018

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