Back in late July and early August - when several Fire players began falling victim to injury - it was assumed that most would be able to return in time for the start of the playoffs.
Now, with the Fire only a couple of days away from the decisive Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against New England, a few of those players have yet to return or make a significant impact while on the field. Here's the full injury rundown...
**Gonzalo Segares -**
Segares, who was out since August 9th with a sprained left MCL, made his long-awaited return to the Fire's lineup this past Sunday - seeing 25 minutes of action at left back in a substitute's role. It was initially assumed that the Costa Rican defender would be ready to start in time for this Saturday's Game 2, but Segares tweaked his knee while in New England and is officially listed as out for this weekend's match.
"The only thing you want is to play and it's frustrating to not be able to," Segares told MLSnet.com. "But that's football and now I have only to focus on recovery because I doubt I'll be able to play anymore this year." But despite the injury report (which can be inaccurate) and what Segares told MLSnet.com, Fire Head Coach Denis Hamlett has yet to rule him out of Saturday's match.
"We're being cautious with him," Hamlett said after Wednesday's training. "We have two more days to see how it responds. He felt good in the game, he was sharp and it was just one play that he kind of tweaked it a little bit so we just have to give him the right rest and hopefully he'll be ready for this weekend."
Given all this contradicting information, I'm not really sure what to make of Segares's situation. If I had to guess I would say he won't play on Saturday. However, the injury report has been known to be relatively inaccurate and I spoke with Hamlett (presumably a couple days) after Segares talked with MLSnet.com - so really, anything could happen with Segares this Saturday.
**Wilman Conde -**
After struggling to diagnose his injury (was it a hip? What about a hamstring?) for a week or two, the Fire finally know what is wrong with injured center back Wilman Conde. Conde, who hasn't trained this week, has been diagnosed with a pinched sciatic nerve in his leg and is listed as questionable on the injury report.
"He saw a specialist and they're going to treat that and hopefully that gets rid of the problem," Hamlett said.
The Fire is taking a "wait and see" approach as to whether or not Conde will be able to play this weekend but I would guess that he'll remain on the bench for this Saturday's match. Conde hasn't trained in a long time and his injury still seems to be causing him pain so I would be pretty surprised if Denis Hamlett ran the big Colombian onto the field come game time.
**John Thorrington -**
Thorrington, who has been out since August 19th with athletic pubalgia, made the game day roster for last Sunday's Game 1 but didn't make it off the bench. Thorrington has been participating in training for the last couple of weeks and we could very well see him - possibly even as a starter - at Toyota Park this Saturday.
"He's been training very well and he looked sharp today," Hamlett said on Wednesday. "We thought that we were going to use him in [Game 1]... and I feel confident in John. I feel like he's one of our fittest guys and even though he hasn't played in a while he can step on the field and do well."
**Tim Ward -**
Ward, who has been out since he suffered a broken left metatarsal on August 5th, made his return to full training earlier this week. But despite not being listed on this week's injury report, Ward has been all but ruled out of this weekend's match.
"He just got back," Hamlett said. "This is his first three or four days of full training so he needs to get his sharpness, his fitness, his timing and all of that."