Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop reluctant to rush Mike Magee back from hamstring injury

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop said Thursday that he is reluctant to rush reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee back into the starting lineup this weekend when the club faces its second straight road game to open the season.

The Fire play the Portland Timbers on Sunday at Providence Park (3 pm ET; UniMas) after suffering a last-minute loss Sunday at Chivas USA in their season opener. Magee did not appear as he continued to recover from a hamstring injury.

“Magee is still nursing an injury at the moment,” Yallop told reporters in a conference call. “I put him on the bench [against Chivas USA] and was only going to use him for 10 or less minutes. He’s not really done much this week until today, when he really pushed it. We’ll see how he responds to the work he did and see how he looks tomorrow and make a decision from that.

“For him to start on Sunday I think would be tough. I’ll have to see how some of the other guys are looking.”

The “other guys” Yallop referred to are fellow attackers Chris Rolfe (bruised foot) and Dilly Duka (tight hamstring), both doubtful for Sunday after featuring in the loss at Chivas USA.

Yallop admitted that he has to use caution when dealing with Magee, who is anxious to get going after missing much of the preseason.

“I don’t want to risk him and have him out for too long,” Yallop said. “Mike just wants to help the team, and as coach I’m there to protect him, so I’m going to make the decision on whether he’s ready to go for the weekend. I do not want to put any player, let alone Mike, at risk of re-injuring and going backwards.”