Southend defender ruled out for the season after freak injury against Sunderland

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Southend defender Ben Coker will miss the rest of the season after he was stretchered off against Sunderland on Saturday.

The 28-year-old ruptured two knee ligaments after going to ground in an off the ball indecent.

Ben Coker was stretched off the pitch at the Stadium of Light.

Ben Coker was stretched off the pitch at the Stadium of Light.

Coker has started every league game for the Shrimpers this campaign but will now be out for an extended period and undergo surgery imminently.

The defender was given a warm reception when he was carried off the field in the 21st minute at the Stadium of Light.

It is a further blow for Chris Powell's side, after striker Tom Hopper was also ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.

"It’s a devastating blow, on top of what we’ve had recently," said Powell.

"To lose Ben in such an innocuous way, I watched the video today and nobody is near him.

“We’ll miss him but it’s all about his health and getting him back to the level.

"He will work hard to achieve that and we will be alongside him all the way.”

Southend dropped to 11th in League One following a 3-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light.