What seemed like a completely normal Friday in the world of the Chicago Fire just got a whole lot more interesting. In a medical move that no one saw coming, Fire forward Brian McBride will have surgery on his right shoulder to repair a labral tear this afternoon.
The word is that McBride, who has battled through a ton of injuries throughout his entire career, has a chronic issue with his right labrum and the Fire and he decided that the time was now for an operation.
"Obviously we're saddened whenever we lose a player due to injury," said Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "We never want to see that. We're going to miss him."
There isn't any word on a specific timetable for McBride's return as of yet but from what I heard I'm guessing it'll be in the 4-6 week range. Just to clarify, that 4-6 week figure is a very fluid number. There isn't any way of knowing exactly how long McBride will be out until after the surgery.
*Update: Just got word that the doctors expect McBride's recovery time to be 3-4 months. This means that McBride could return in time just in time for the playoffs and (with his past history of toughness...) hopefully he'll get back. I'll try and talk to Brian in the coming days to get his perspective on it, but obviously this loss is a huge one for the Fire.* "Once he has the surgery then we'll know exactly what the doctors learned," said Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "They thought it was just more of a clean-up thing but obviously once you go inside you can see more and so we'll wait to see what they say and then we'll know what the timetable will be."
Look for Patrick Nyarko to see a lot of playing time in place of the 37-year-old McBride, who - with six goals in league play - is the Fire's leading scorer.
"This is a good opportunity for other guys to continue to step up and help the team," said Hamlett. "I feel that we have a deep enough squad that we can get through this stretch without Brian... but hopefully it's a short recovery period. We'll look forward to having him back."
Obviously the Fire will be missing one of their best players with McBride gone. It will be extremely tough to replace his output in terms of goals and impossible to replace his ability in the air and his skill at holding the ball up.
That said, Patrick Nyarko has looked good all year long and though his style of play - he is a very fast player and speed is his primary weapon - is vastly different from McBride's I think that he will do well filling in.
The Fire will also be looking for increased production from some of their other attackers. Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Chris Rolfe and Marco Pappa will all be called upon to step up in McBride's absence and their play will be a key factor in determining how the
Fire do without the Arlington Heights native.