Off-field walking accident may sideline Vancouver Whitecaps' Nigel Reo-Coker vs. Houston

Nigel Reo-Coker, Vancouver Whitecaps

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VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The injury dangers don't stop for soccer players once the referee blows the final whistle.

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has emerged as an injury doubt ahead of his club's match this weekend against the Houston Dynamo at BC Place (Saturday, 7 pm ET, MLS Live in US, TSN2 in Canada).

This, after the former Aston Villa and West Ham United star suffered a nasty gash to his face while walking the streets of Vancouver on Sunday.

The club has stated the Englishman was looking elsewhere while walking when he tripped over a bike rack, cutting his face and hitting his head in the process.

“That's unsure at the moment,” assistant coach Martyn Pert told reporters when asked if the injury would keep him out of this weekend's game. “He's had a scrape on his face and the medics will assess whether he has a concussion.

“The initial thing was rest today, and that he does the best things for him.”

The injury was enough to keep Reo-Coker out of Tuesday's training session, and the club's medical staff is attempting to determine whether the player suffered a concussion when he hit his head.

“There's a chance,” Pert responded to a follow up question on the potential concussion. “At the moment there's no definite answer on that.”

Reo-Coker's injury is the latest in a string of off-field accidents which have caused significant distress at times for Vancouver since the club joined Major League Soccer in 2011.

The first such incident involved Russell Teibert, who damaged his toe while riding a bicycle in flip flops – that mishap meant the player missed the bulk of the end of season run-in that year.

Perhaps more memorably, forward Darren Mattocks missed about a third of his rookie season in 2012 after suffering severe burns to his shoulder during a cooking accident in which he was putting together a traditional Jamaican dish.

If there's any solace in this for Vancouver, it's that there's a ready made replacement waiting in the wings – Gershon Koffie replaced Reo-Coker after 70 minutes in this weekend's scoreless draw with the New England Revolution and showed well.

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.