IRENE, South Africa (AP) — United States goalkeeper Tim Howard's bruised ribs are improving, and the U.S. Soccer medical staff said Monday he is expected to play Friday against Slovenia.
The medical staff decided Howard didn't need any further tests after examining him, and the federation said he is making "substantial improvement."
Howard was injured in the 29th minute against England on Saturday when Emile Heskey slammed feet-first into the American's chest at full speed. The studs of Heskey's shoes caught Howard squarely in the ribs, and he writhed in pain on the ground for several minutes.
The Americans play Group C leader Slovenia on Friday.
"When you see the way Timmy handled himself after the collision last night, you'd certainly expect he'll be on the field again," United States coach Bob Bradley said Sunday.
News that Howard will play is sure to give a boost to the Americans, who are tied with England for second place in Group C.
Howard is the cornerstone of the United States team.
"In these tournaments, you need a good goalkeeper," United States defender Steve Cherundolo said. "So we're very, very happy Tim's on our side."