Chicago Fire regroup without Arne Friedrich, but don't expect German to retire

Arne Friedrich

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire are prepared to lose Arne Friedrich for at least the next two weeks with a hamstring issue, but the 33-year-old former German international is not expected to fade into early retirement while dealing with the injury.

Friedrich departed Chicago earlier this week for Germany, where he'll rehab a hamstring injury with physical therapist Thomas Fennewald, the same therapist who helped Friedrich recover from a back injury that almost ended his career two years ago.

“You're going to face situations throughout the season like this, and you're going to have to cope with this,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. “Arne's experience and his quality, any team would miss him, but we're just going to have to accept this and just move on and when he's ready, he'll be ready to help us.”

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Friedrich missed about six weeks last year with an injury to the same hamstring. He re-injured the hamstring last year when he tried to come back too soon, so it's not surprising to see the longtime Bundesliga veteran take his time. He said following last season that the 2013 season would be his last.

He missed the final game of preseason on Feb. 23 with what the team called a “hamstring tweak,” but he wasn't expected to miss any regular season time until the team arrived in Los Angeles ahead of the season opener on March 3. A timetable of three to four weeks was given his return, but it appears he'll be out for at least a few extra weeks.

And while the trip to Berlin shows just how serious he's taking his recovery, it doesn't seem to alarm his teammates about any long-term issues.

“I think he feels very comfortable with the guy over there … to help him get back as quickly as possible,” defender Gonzalo Segares told MLSsoccer.com. “He's confident with his guy and he's going to help him come back faster, so it's better.”