It was the last thing Columbus Crew SC coaches, players and fans wanted to see on Saturday.
In their final training session before hosting the Portland Timbers on Sunday in MLS Cup (4 pm ET; ESPN, UniMas in USA; TSN1/4, RDS2 in Canada), Crew SC's leading goalscorer and attacking talisman, Kei Kamara, lay prone on the grass at MAPFRE Stadium after jumping and landing awkwardly.
Scary moment at end of Columbus Crew's last pre-MLS Cup practice, as star striker Kei Kamara goes down with apparent right leg injury.— Doug McIntyre (@DougMacESPN) December 5, 2015
Kamara, who did not speak to the media, walked off under his own power. Head coach Gregg Berhalter initially told reporters that Kamara's status for Sunday's championship game was unknown, pending tests and treatment, but he remained hopeful the 25-goal man would take his customary place up top against the Timbers.
"I haven’t had a chance to assess it yet," Berhalter told reporters. "So I’m going to go in the locker room and figure out what happened and figure out what the treatment is and if he is going to be available. My guess right now is that he’d be available.”
The club publicly clarified Kamara's status a short time later on Twitter:
Update: Kei Kamara suffered a right leg knock during Saturday's training session and will be a game-time decision on Sunday.— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) December 5, 2015
With a championship at stake, the Crew SC boss was asked whether he might risk playing Kamara even if he wasn't 100 percent.
“I can’t say that right now," Berhalter said. "I have to really assess what’s wrong with him. I wouldn’t put a player at risk. That’s not my style. That’s not our style of the club. We’ll have to assess where he’s at.”
Should Kamara be unavailable, a worse-case scenario for a Crew SC team hoping to make history at home, forward Jack McInerney would be the likely replacement.
And although McInerney, who arrived in August via a trade with the Montreal Impact, has 38 MLS goals in 143 career appearances, including two in five appearances with Crew SC, Berhalter acknowledeged Columbus would have to tweak their gameplan if Kamara can't play.
“It would change. The top goalscorer in the league would not be playing in this game so it would affect us," Berhalter said. "We’d have to regroup, come up with another idea, another plan and try to execute it within 27 hours, a short period of time.”
"I think he'll be alright," Berhalter added.