You might not want to count out Stuart Holden from making the US national team's World Cup roster just yet.
Holden took another significant and encouraging step on Tuesday towards his complete recovery from the torn right ACL he suffered in the Americans' Gold Cup final triumph last summer by joining the current USMNT camp in Southern California as a guest player.
Holden will take part in training with his US teammates for the first time since picking up the injury in an effort to continue to rehabilitate his third serious knee injury in four years and show head coach Jurgen Klinsmann the progress he has made.
Holden sustained the injury in the first half of last July's 1-0 victory over Panama, a crushing blow for a player who had just returned to the US national team fray after being sidelined for nearly two years. He had suffered a torn ACL in his left knee back in March 2011 that proved problematic and kept him from making a full return to the field until early 2013.
Prior to that, Holden sustained a broken leg in a March 2010 friendly vs. the Netherlands after a rash challenge from Nigel de Jong. That injury raised uncertainty about Holden's availability for the World Cup in South Africa, but he recovered in time to not only make it onto the US team but play in a match in the tournament as well.
Ever the optimist, the 28-year-old Holden is now holding out hope of pulling off a similar comeback this year in time to return to action for his club, Bolton Wanderers, and make the US squad that heads to Brazil this summer.