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Pepe Reina still in doubt ahead of Hellas Verona match

The calf injury that knocked Reina out against Udinese may keep him out again this weekend.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

It's starting to look like Pepe Reina will be absent from the starting lineup once more -- the Spanish goalkeeper hasn't trained fully all week long, doing side work while the rest of the Napoli squad works together. It appears that he is a great doubt to play against Hellas Verona this weekend, making the second straight game that he's sat out with his calf injury.

Reina missing that match cost Napoli dearly, as his replacement, Gabriel, made mistakes on all three goals scored by Udinese. None of the goals were entirely his fault, but even with the somewhat reduced form Reina has been in of late, the feeling is that Reina would have likely saved at least two of those strikes.

That's not to say that Gabriel is at all unskilled -- the Brazilian loanee from Milan has a lot of raw talent, but his lack of experience means that he can't consistently bring that talent to bear. We saw that on full display against Udinese -- saving one penalty in wonderful fashion after missing badly on another, and making a series of fine saves in between two glaring errors leading to goals.

Hopefully if Gabriel is called into action against Hellas Verona as it appears he will be, he'll have learned from his mistakes and puts in a better, more consistent shift in goal. In any even, Napoli fans will have to hope that Reina returns to action soon -- all recent criticism aside, he's by far Napoli's best option in goal and gives them a much better shot at finishing in second place in Serie A.