Altidore and the Ankle: Reasons For Hope?

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Josh Anderson / Reuters

A day after Jozy Altidore missed an exhibition game, the forward was back on the field testing out his ankle – a joint that may or may not still be injured.

The soccer drama started Wednesday, when Altidore was rushed to the hospital during a practice session, after injuring his ankle. The X-rays apparently revealed only a minor sprain. But concerns grew on Saturday when Altidore missed the team’s final exhibition game against Australia.

There was plenty of news – both good and bad – to go around for American soccer fans. The good news from the Australian bout was that other player stepped up to fill the void. Edson Buddle scored twice in the game, and coach Bob Bradley said Buddle would be the preferred starting forward if Altidore was not ready for Saturday’s World Cup Group C opener against England.

As for Altidore, the good news was that his ankle did not appear to be taped up Sunday, and he seemed able to move freely during the shorter practice session.

But he did not speak to the press, and the fact that Bradley was already making plans for his absence raises further doubts: Just how serious is that ankle injury?