Playing goalkeeper in the English Premier League is a dangerous business, and Everton shot-stopper Tim Howard was reminded of this after suffering broken bones in his back during the team’s recent FA Cup match against Oldham.
UPDATE: Saturday, Mar. 30 at 1 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
Everton received a boost prior to its match against Stoke City, and fans at Goodison Park will be delighted to see Tim Howard in goal. Fox Soccer Trax shared the Toffees starting 11, and the American star's name is the first one on the list:
EVERTON Howard, Baines, Coleman, Distin, Heitinga, Jagielka, Gibson, Mirallas, Osman, Anichebe, Jelavic.2013-3-30 16:42:17
---End of update---
The Guardian’s Andy Hunter reported the following on the events that caused the injury:
Howard sustained the injury in the 85th minute of Everton's fifth-round replay victory when he landed awkwardly after a foul by the Oldham striker, Robbie Simpson. The 34-year-old played out the final five minutes plus three minutes of stoppage time with the broken bones, making several saves as Everton held out for the 3-1 win that secured Saturday's quarter-final against Wigan Athletic.
Hunter’s report does not provide an exact date for Howard’s return, but it does note that the American will miss at least “several weeks.” The time frame is based on a similar injury that Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini suffered recently.
In Hunter's article, Everton manager David Moyes said:
Tim is out against Wigan. He has broken two bones in his back. We don't think he will be out for the season. I read that Coloccini could be out for seven weeks but we are not sure how long Tim will be out for because, obviously with a goalkeeper, he has to dive around and hit the ground.
Moyes continued to clarify that the broken bones are “not weight-bearing” and that Howard will not need surgery.
The injury comes at a crucial time in Everton’s season. The team is set to take on Wigan this weekend with a trip to the FA Cup semifinals on the line.
Howard has been a fixture between the goalposts for the Toffees in recent years. The 33-year-old started every Premiership match for Everton during the past four seasons.
His streak ended this past weekend when Jan Mucha filled in for him during a 3-1 victory over Reading.
The Slovakian will need to earn his team’s confidence quickly in order to ensure that Everton’s form does not dip. With a trophy and a spot in Europe for next season still well within reach, Mucha’s ability to be a reliable understudy is sure to be a major storyline at Goodison Park in the coming weeks.