Bradley: Howard may have broken ribs
U.S. coach Bob Bradley isn’t sure whether goalkeeper Tim Howard broke ribs during a collision with Emile Heskey in the Americans’ World Cup opener against England.
"He’ll be evaluated later today and then a decision will be made as to whether he’ll need further tests," Bradley said Sunday. "Obviously he was sore – did a great job of taking a tough hit, and staying in it and playing really well. But we’ll assess him later today and figure out then what we need to do from there."
Howard was injured when Heskey’s foot slid into him in the 29th minute Saturday night. Howard was down for a while, saying he felt "in agony." When the game resumed, he grimaced several times.
Howard played the second half after having an injection of a painkiller and made six saves as the United States rallied for a 1-1 tie.
"Any time you’re in a big game like that and you get injured, there’s no chance anybody is taking you off that field. And Tim is no different than the rest of us," defender Steve Cherundolo said. "Having a good goalkeeper in a tournament like this is essential, so we’re very happy Tim is on our team, and I’m certain he’ll continue with his good performances."
Bradley couldn’t say if Howard’s participation in Friday’s game against Slovenia was in doubt. Slovenia played Algeria later Sunday in Group C.
"At this time I think there’s no answer," he said. "But when you see the way Timmy handled himself after the collision last night, you’d certainly expect he’ll be on the field again."
Howard, the starter for Everton in the Premier League, is backed by Wolverhampton’s Marcus Hahnemann on the U.S. team. Brad Guzan, the backup to Brad Friedel on Aston Villa, is the No. 3 American goalkeeper.
Howard said after the game in Rustenburg that he felt sore, but that team doctors at first impression didn’t think there was a break. The U.S. team then made the two-hour trip back to its base camp in Irene.
"In a couple hours I’ll be struggling," he said before leaving Royal Bafokeng Stadium in northern South Africa. "It’s going to take me a few days."
Howard was disappointed at allowing Steven Gerrard’s fourth-minute goal, but pleased with the way the Americans rallied on Clint Dempsey’s 40th-minute goal. Dempsey’s a 25-yard shot bounced twice and went in off the hands of goalkeeper Robert Green, a major blunder.
Howard made a point-blank stop on Heskey’s 18-yard right-footed shot in the 52nd minute and parried Frank Lampard’s 20-foot left-footed shot over the crossbar in the 63rd.
"I don’t know what it is about us," Howard said. "We’re resilient – always after we get the punch in the face."