JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Tim Howard has been cleared to play.

The U.S. team's top goalkeeper will need no further testing on bruised ribs suffered in the first half of Saturday's 1-1 tie with England.

U.S. Soccer, which had the day off from training and media availability, issued this statement: "After a physical examination this morning, the medical staff has determined there is no need to conduct additional testing on Tim Howard. He continues to make substantial improvement and is expected to be available for the match against Slovenia."

The U.S. team continues World Cup play on Friday against Slovenia, which is atop the Group C standings: Slovenia secured three points with its win over Algeria on Sunday; the U.S. team and England each collected a point with Saturday's tie.

On Sunday, there was concern that Howard would need an X-ray or MRI to determine if had broken any ribs, an injury that would likely have kept him from competing Friday.

Howard is considered crucial to the U.S. team's success.

Howard was injured in a sliding collision with England forward Emile Heskey; despite staying on the grass for approximately three minutes, Howard remained in goal, received a cortisone shot at halftime and made a handful of difficult saves in preserving the tie.

After Saturday's match, Howard called the collision "agony" and said recovery would take a few days.

"Having an excellent keeper in a tournament like this is essential," U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo said during Sunday's news conference.

"Anytime you're in a big game like that and you get an injury, there is no chance anybody's taking you off that field. It speaks for Tim's character."

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.