Here are a few notes from today's high-intensity Fire training session...
**McBride Back in Action -**
Injured forward Brian McBride (torn labrum) was back on the training field today, participating in his first "full go" practice since having surgery in mid-July. McBride, who isn't listed on the Fire's injury report this week, looked good in practice and didn't seem to be inhibited by the injury whatsoever.
"There's actually no pain," said the 37-year old striker. "There's probably still some fluid in there that I have to stay on top of but I'm excited to be back out here."
The Fire is still unsure of when McBride will make his return to MLS play - but they aren't ruling out next Saturday's game in Salt Lake City.
"We have a few more days before we can make that decision," said Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "We're not going to jump the gun on anything. We're just going to take it one day at a time and continue to push him along. We'll reevaluate every morning when we come in and see how he's feeling and if there's no setbacks we'll go from there."
McBride wasn't originally scheduled to return to the team until mid-October, but (once again) the big striker proved to be a fast healer.
"My body lays down scar tissue pretty quick, which helps the healing," said McBride. "It definitely helps with repair and that part's nice, but it has more to do with the doctor and the technique he used than anything else."
**Other injury updates -**
Defenders Gonzalo Segares (MCL) and Wilman Conde (hamstring) were back on the training field today, but only in a limited capacity - neither took part in the team drills but did some running work instead.
Conde, who has missed 6 of the Fire's last seven matches, will likely get back to training with the full team tomorrow.
"We're being cautious with him but I think tomorrow he'll be in as a neutral," said Hamlett. "Hopefully he'll have two days as a neutral this week and then hopefully get him ready for next week."
Segares - who is listed as "out" on this week's injury report - will continue to test out his injured knee throughout the bye week.
"Gonzalo's progressing nicely," said Hamlett. "He's running straight ahead, doing some cutting now, but we have to be careful with him because the [sprained MCL] takes a while to come back from."
Unfortunately, it isn't all good news for the Fire as midfielder John Thorrington was absent from today's practice. Thorrington, who recently recovered from a groin injury, sat out with some discomfort in his hip and groin. No word on when Thorrington will return to training, but I don't expect he'll miss the Salt Lake game.
"We'll continue to reevaluate him to make sure he's ok," said Hamlett of Thorrington. "We have to be careful with him but he got through the [D.C.] game fine, he's a warrior."
**Bye week plans -**
The Fire may be in the middle of their much-deserved bye week, but that the team isn't taking it easy. Sure, the players got the last few days off but today's training session was a tough one - and I expect the next couple days to be equally intense.
"We'll push them real hard and work a few things that we need to get better at," said Hamlett of his plans for this week. "They'll get the weekend off and we'll get back at it next week. It's a good combination of rest but also work with some things we need to work on to make sure now that we get ready for the stretch run."
Well that's all for now, but I'll be back tomorrow with a full length interview with a Fire player -- you'll find out who it is later...