Fire's Friedrich, Pardo both expect injury return vs. Crew

Arne Friedrich

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire got quite a scare on Saturday, watching veteran central defender Arne Friedrich hobble off the field in the 41st minute against Montreal with what was described as “neck stiffness.”

By Tuesday, however, the scare had passed and Friedrich said he was feeling much better. But he still couldn’t explain the root of the issue – though a bump early in the game made it so he couldn’t turn his head.

“It started in the morning when I woke up, it was completely stiff,” Friedrich (above) told MLSsoccer.com. “But I guess the biggest problem was a small hit on my shoulder after two minutes when I didn’t expect it. Everything cracked down and from this moment, I couldn’t move my head.”

With Corey Gibbs still in the process of his own injury recovery and Jalil Anibaba having settled at right back, that could have put the Fire in a bit of an injury crisis. But Friedrich said he should be ready for Saturday’s game against Columbus, which means all is well on the backline.

That’s not necessarily the case in the central midfield, where the Fire were missing Pável Pardo and Daniel Paladini. Pardo was out with hamstring tightness and Paladini sat with a calf strain.

While coach Frank Klopas hedged as to whether Pardo would be back on Saturday, the former Mexican international said he should be ready.

“For this week, I think I’m going to be fine,” Pardo told MLSsoccer.com.

Paladini, who didn’t participate in full training on Tuesday, didn’t seem quite as hopeful.

“Day-by-day, it’s getting better,” Paladini told MLSsoccer.com. “I’m at about 75 percent fitness. I’m looking to be in the 18 [Saturday], but I’m just taking it day by day.”