Chicago cautiously optimistic on returns of Pardo, Gibbs

Pavel Pardo sends a ball in

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire look closer to returning to full health as they prepare for their return to the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009.

And the current international break could prove a crucial one for midfielder Pável Pardo, who may have enough time to nurse his calf injury to return for the team’s next game against New England on Oct. 20.

But Fire head coach Frank Klopas is staying cautious, as Pardo trained indoors on Thursday in the hopes he won’t miss his sixth straight game.

 “You can’t rush someone in, because you go out, you feel good and, after 20 minutes, you make a sprint and then, boom, you’re back in there,” he said of the Mexican veteran. “We’ll just see, I really couldn’t tell you [when he’ll be back].”

The Fire have also been cautious with center back Cory Gibbs, who is back to jogging after suffering a setback in his return from a torn meniscus, which he suffered in March.

“It hasn’t been easy for him training inside,” Klopas said. “We just have to see how he responds to [jogging].”

Steve Kinney put in a 90-minute performance in the Fire’s Reserve League game in Dallas on Tuesday after suffering a few setbacks in his recovery from an Achilles’ injury. The right back missed the entire 2011 season with the injury, and his body had to adjust to the rigors of everyday training.

Kinney appeared on the injury report several times after he returned to full training, but Klopas says he’s healthy.