Despite lengthy break, Fire roster still not at full strength

Nyarko, CHI v NY, 06172012

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – A one-week break did wonders for several injured Chicago Fire players.

Dan Gargan’s nagging injury in his left foot appears to finally be subsiding. Dominic Oduro’s hamstring no longer bothers him. Arne Friedrich appears close to starting again after straining his hamstring five weeks ago, and fellow center back Austin Berry’s injured shoulder is feeling better.

“I think everyone kind of needed a breather and a break,” Gargan told MLSsoccer.com. “I think we got a little bit rested and a little bit recharged.”

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But there still is uncertainty with the Fire’s lineup.

Marco Pappa will return Friday or Saturday from international duty, Chris Rolfe is still gaining match fitness after returning from an ankle sprain and midfielder Alex, who just arrived in Chicago, won’t be available until the transfer window opens on June 27.

That leaves little time to rest for players with nagging injuries, like Patrick Nyarko, who has to take pain-relieving shots before games to ease the pain in his hip and hamstring. The midfielder doesn’t want to sit while the lineup is tenuous.

“I feel like I don’t have to be the next injured guy to make our team shorthanded,” Nyarko (above right) told MLSsoccer.com.

“I want to be there for my team. I want to play through whatever I can. I want to do the best for my team. If we get a full complement of our team back, I can talk to [Fire head coach Frank Klopas] and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got guys that can win games for us, and I can take a little bit of a break to feel 100 percent.’”

For the last few weeks, Friedrich has targeted Sunday’s game against New York for his return. But the German center back has expressed that he wants to be cautious, and there is a chance that he may sit out one more week.

“With his leg, there’s still some tightness there,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com. “He did a little bit [Thursday] and we just have to be smart. We’ll just see in the next couple of days how he feels.”

Rolfe has put together two weeks of training since after returning from a sprained ankle on June 2 against the Revolution, playing 21 minutes. Rolfe sat out his first six weeks with the Fire with the ankle sprain, which he suffered during his second practice.

Klopas didn’t seem optimistic Rolfe would start Sunday.

“We’ll see how he feels,” Klopas said. “He hasn’t played in a very long time, so that’s stretching it a little.”