Matt Polster's role on the Chicago Fire this season was already uncertain, but a knee injury suffered last week in preseason training already has his 2017 off to a bad start.
Polster suffered what the club is calling a "Grade II left knee strain" on Thursday, Feb. 2. This was the team's second week of preseason training and first since leaving for Florida.
Polster is estimated to be out seven weeks and is scheduled to return to Chicago on Wednesday. The Fire's season opener is just under a month away in Columbus so if the timetable remains the same he would miss the Fire's three matches in March and have a chance to return in April.
This is the same knee that Polster suffered an injury to against in the 2016 finale at Toronto. Polster said (in the video above) he spent some of the offseason recovering from that injury.
As for what this does for the Fire, Polster was not necessarily expected to be a starter. New additions Juninho and Dax McCarty, who flew to join the team in Florida on Monday night, are the likely starters in central midfield.
The only way Polster was going to be a regular first-choice starter was if coach Veljko Paunovic altered his formation from the 4-2-3-1 he favored last season or if Polster played another position. There had been no indication of either. Polster trained with the midfielders, as opposed to right back which he played some with the Fire during his rookie season in 2015, and the Fire lined up in a 4-2-3-1 in Saturday's preseason opener at Florida Gulf Coast.
With that said, Polster still figures to be in the rotation or one of the first options off the bench. He'll now just have to wait a bit longer to find his role.