Jermaine Jones against Antigua
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Jones misses training with injury, but US staff "optimistic"

AMSTERDAM – While Jermaine Jones sat out US national team training with an ankle injury on Tuesday, the medical staff is hoping he will be fit and ready by the time they take on CONCACAF World Cup qualifying hosts Antigua & Barbuda on Friday (7 pm ET, beIN Sport, live chat on 

Injured during a Schalke training session at the start of the month, the midfielder has since sat out a Europa League draw with Montpellier and a Bundesliga victory over Wolfsburg. However, Jurgen Klinsmann & Co. are confident there will be an adequate recovery by the weekend.

"Jermaine was not on the field today, but he continues to improve and they are optimistic about Friday," USMNT press officer Michael Kammarman told on Tuesday night.

Jones leads the national team with 877 minutes of playing time in 2012, notching a goal, three assists and six yellow cards in 10 outings. He has started eight straight US matches, with his last "DNP" recorded in the Leap Day win at Italy on Feb. 29.

The Antigua & Barbuda contest stands as the penultimate third-round game, with the US currently tied atop Group A with Guatemala and Jamaica just a step behind thanks to goal differential. Guatemala visit Livestrong Sporting Park on Oct. 16 in the USMNT’s final match of this round.