With a whopping six players listed on this week's injury report, the Fire's second bye week of 2009 couldn't have come at a better time. The team is hoping to return at least a few of the players on this week's injury list in time for next Saturday's game at New England and it looks like the team has reason to be hopeful. Continue after the jump for a player-by-player breakdown. **Tim Ward -**
The Fire's usual right-back, Ward hasn't played since fracturing his left metatarsal on August 5th against Tigres UANL. But Ward is slowly but surely getting back on the right track and today marked the first time 22-year-old stepped on the training field since his injury.
"He's starting the process now," said Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett. "He's getting back in the soccer boot but he obviously had the pin in his foot so he will be getting back into running slowly. But he'll start hitting a ball soon and we'll see how his foot responds."
Hamlett told me that there is currently no timetable for Ward to return but it's good to hear that he's back on the training field - even if it is in a limited capacity.
**Gonzalo Segares -**
Segares, who hasn't played since spraining his left MCL at Houston on August 9th, has dealt with a myriad of ups and downs in his rehab process. It looked like the Costa Rican left back would return to the Fire's lineup in time for the September 26th game against Toronto FC but he suffered a setback in training in the build up to that game and hasn't taken part in full training since.
"He's back on the field working with the strength and conditioning guys," Hamlett said of Segares. "He's doing some fitness, some cutting, and we'll hope to have him on Monday as a neutral."
While the Fire is holding out hope that Segares will be ready to play against New England on October 17th, they will simply have to wait and see how his MCL responds before making any decisions.
"The MCL is always a tricky one because you can be progressing very well like he was and then you have a lot of setbacks," said Hamlett. "But he's back again now and hopefully he'll start the process as a neutral next week and we'll see how his body responds."
**Wilman Conde -**
A stalwart in the center of the Fire's backline all year, Conde had to leave last Saturday's game against L.A. in the 78th minute after sustaining injuries to his hip and hamstring.
"He's getting treatment," said Hamlett. "Obviously he got a hip [injury] when him and [Fire keeper Jon Busch] collided and he picked up a little bit of... tightness in the hamstring so we've shut him down this week. The idea is to get him back into training on Monday."
**Daniel Woolard -**
After spending the last month and a half on the injury report, Woolard has finally returned to full training, spending the last 10 days on the training field with the full team. It looks like Woolard will be eligible to play against New England on the 17th and that is only good news for the Fire, who has suffered a rash of injuries to their back line this year.
**John Thorrington -**
The news isn't good for the Fire's center midfielder as he is listed as out on this week's injury report. Thorrington, who hasn't played since the Fire's 1-0 loss to D.C. United on August 29th, has struggled to recover from a groin strain sustained in that match.
"He hasn't been able to do any training," Hamlett said of the veteran midfielder. "They've done some procedures with him and now they've shut him down for a couple of days. Hopefully next week he can get back and start to do some more strength work and see how the body reacts to the procedure."
Hamlett wasn't sure of the exact name of the "procedure" Thorrington underwent but he did tell me that the doctors "take blood from his body and put it back into the [injured] area."
**Chris Rolfe -**
Rolfe has missed the Fire's last two games after picking up a hamstring injury in the lead up to the Toronto match. Rolfe, who only has two regular season games left in his Fire tenure, is back on the training field and is listed as questionable on the club's injury report.
"He was a neutral today," said Hamlett. "We'll see how he continues to respond. So far the time off has been good to him in terms of how [the hamstring] healed and now we have to get him back into the soccer swing."
**Cuauhtemoc Blanco -**
Blanco, who has missed the Fire's last two games, is currently in Mexico training with the Mexican National Team ahead of their final two World Cup Qualifying matches. I'll have more on Blanco tomorrow, but Denis Hamlett did tell me that he spoke with Temo on Monday and that the Mexican doctors were evaluating him further this week. If I had to guess though, I would say that Blanco will play in 'El Tri's' match on Saturday night.
That's all I have for now, but check back tomorrow for a full slate of Fire/Qualifying related posts.