Tim Howard
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Report: Tim Howard could miss several weeks, World Cup qualifiers with back injury

Brad Guzan, get your gloves ready.

According to reports out of England, Everton and US men's national team first-choice goalkeeper Tim Howard will miss several weeks while recuperating from a pair of fractures in his back bone, likely ruling him out of the USMNT's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica (March 22) and at Mexico (March 26).

Howard suffered the injury in the closing minutes Everton's 3-1 win over Oldham in an FA Cup fifth-round replay on Feb. 26 after being fouled by Oldham striker Robbie Simpson, and missed out on Everton's 3-1 league win over Reading over the past weekend.

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According to Everton manager David Moyes, the fractures are "not bones that are supporting anything. It is off the spine. They are not weight-bearing. It just needs a bit of healing time."

Moyes says that Howard will miss this weekend's clash against Wigan Athletic, next weekend's showdown with Manchester City and have the international break to rest, meaning he is unlikely to make the trip across the Atlantic to play for the United States. However, the Scottish manager indicated that Howard could be "close" to returning after the international break.

Howard's injury makes Aston Villa shot-stopper Brad Guzan the likely starter for the USMNT's two qualifiers, but Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando and the Chicago Fire's Sean Johnson could also be in the mix.