Patrick Nyarko returns to Chicago Fire training after unwanted summer break

Nyarko back in the Fire mix, looking to re-gain fitness in final stretch of the season

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire received a boost this week as winger Patrick Nyarko returned to training with the team for the first time since late May.

The Ghanaian winger had been sidelined at the start of the summer with a sprained knee. After it was determined he would be out for at least a few weeks, the Fire veteran also underwent a procedure to remove bone spurs from his ankle at the beginning of June.

His ankle healed well but the knee took much longer.

“It feels great to be back training,” Nyarko told Chicago-Fire.com Tuesday. “It’s been a long process and my knee wasn’t healing as quick as we expected it to but I think we finally turned the corner a couple weeks ago.

“I’m finally starting to feel good enough to be back on the field. The last couple days I’ve trained with the team and I’m excited about the last stretch of the season.”

Having made just nine appearances this year, Nyarko last played for the Fire playing 59 minutes in a 2-1 win over Sporting KC on May 18 and admitted Tuesday he obviously needed to re-gain game shape.

“Right now it’s all about catching my fitness and getting back into soccer shape so I can contribute to the end of the season.”

The Fire have just 10 matches left and sit five points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While the likes of Harry Shipp, Grant Ward, Alex and Sanna Nyassi have filled in admirably on the wings, getting Nyarko back on the field would no doubt be a boost in the team’s final playoff push.

While there is hope that the Ghanaian winger could play a part vs. FC Dallas on Saturday, Fire head coach Frank Yallop was cautious about that potential.

“It’s nice to see Patrick back out there again,” Yallop said. “We’ve definitely missed him this summer and when he went out, didn’t expect it to take this long. He’s only a couple of days in so we’ll see how he progresses this week and make a determination from there.”

If he’s not ready to go in the first team match, the two sides also play a Reserve Game Sunday morning at Toyota Park.

 “The decision is with the medical staff and the coaches,” Nyarko said. “I feel pretty good, I lack a bit of fitness but obviously they can assess and figure out if they need me for however minutes they need. Personally I feel good – not as sharp as I’d like yet but I’m making myself available for this week and the coaches can decide if I’m able to help on Saturday.”