BURNABY, B.C. – Injuries happen all the time in soccer, but the cooking accident that landed Vancouver Whitecaps rookie Darren Mattocks in the hospital with burns to his arm and shoulder is being considered simply an unlucky fluke.
It’s unclear, however, if Mattocks, who was taken No. 2 overall in the MLS SuperDraft in January and has logged just one minute of playing time this season, will be ready for the team’s home matchup against D.C. United on Saturday night.
“It’s obviously disappointing for him and for us,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters after a training session at Burnaby Lake fields on Tuesday. “He’s right there on the cusp of being in the team … It’s just a little setback, but he’ll be fine fairly soon.”
What exactly “soon” means isn’t obvious, however, and neither are the details of Mattocks’ accident. The team released a statement on Tuesday that said Mattocks suffered the injury “while preparing dinner,” but the severity of the burns has not been revealed by the club.
The 21-year-old Jamaican striker was admitted to a local hospital following the accident and is currently being assessed and treated.
When asked if Mattocks’ potential absence could give Omar Salgado a chance to shine, Rennie was noncommittal.
The Texan, who Vancouver selected first overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, has recently been linked with a loan move to the NASL's Carolina RailHawks.
“I don’t know if [Mattocks’ injury] means anything for Omar, except that there’s one guy less competing for a spot,” Rennie said. “That’s the same for Long Tan and all the other guys. I don’t think it’s just a big deal for one guy, but when there’s guys injured it does give people a chance to step up and make the most of it.”
Forward Atiba Harris participated in part of Tuesday’s training session as he looks to return from a knee complaint.
“He’s pretty close,” Rennie said. “He’s really close to getting back.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Joe Cannon (deep thigh contusion) and Gershon Koffie (ankle) did not train on Tuesday, but Rennie said he expects Cannon will train on Thursday and hopes Koffie will be able to take part as well.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.