Tim Howard Never Doubted Injury Recovery Timeline

When goalkeeper Tim Howard required surgery to fix a fractured right adductor injury suffered during the MNT’s 2-1 defeat to Mexico in November, the clock started ticking on his return for the resumption of World Cup Qualifying this month.

The recovery timeline was four months. While some questioned whether he would be ready for March, the two-time World Cup veteran says he never personally doubted his ability to be available for these key matches.

“It’s good to be healthy again,” Howard told ussoccer.com following Monday’s training session. “Obviously my four-month rehab was to make sure I came back stronger and healthier. I keep saying to all the people that doubted I’d be back this soon that they never spoke to myself or my surgeon. Where they got their information from, I’m not 100 percent sure, but I let them assume, kept my mouth shut, worked hard and thankfully it paid off.”

Though he missed the Colorado Rapids season opener on March 4, Howard has appeared in the team’s last two matches and turned in a particularly impressive performance against New York Red Bulls on March 11, making seven saves before an own goal doomed Colorado to a 1-0 defeat.

Now back in camp, the member of the 100-cap club is charged with helping turnaround the team’s fortunes after starting the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying with losses to Mexico and Costa Rica in November. Having been through the rigors of the qualification process in three different cycles, Howard knows that a positive result on Friday night against Honduras will come from a full-team effort.

“The collective inspiration of the group is needed,” he said. “We’re in a tough situation, but it’s not doom and gloom. Every time we’ve needed to win a game or muster up a good performance, we’ve done that. We’ve answered the bell. It’s not worrying at this point. There’s an opportunity there for us to get three points on Friday and then go down to Panama and collect another.”

Though Howard wasn’t part of the January Camp roster, he did stop by to get a sense of things at the start of the year. With the full roster gathered in San Jose, the mood is serious, and the goal of getting three points Friday against Honduras and another positive result in Panama is crystal clear.

“I think everybody coming into this week is excited for qualification to start again. Unfortunately, it was so long in between [qualifying] games that we’ve had a bad taste in our mouth for a while, so it’ll be good to kind of exorcise those demons and get the results we know we can get.”